Cornwall Council has successfully bid for over £1 million of government funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in order to work proactively and engage with landlords, particularly those who rent out houses of multiple occupation or converted flats where information available to us indicate standards are likely to be poor, to help improve standards for tenants.
Privately rented homes make up almost 20% of the housing in Cornwall.
Cllr Olly Monk, the Council’s portfolio holder for housing and planning said: “Residents are right to expect a decent home. There are many, many good and responsible private landlords out there who value their tenants and ensure that the home they rent out is of a decent standard. We are in no way tarring everyone with the same brush, but we also know from the complaints we receive and the enforcement action we have a duty to take, that there are properties being rented out that fall short of the required standard.
“We want to work with those landlords to improve the homes they rent out so that residents who live in them can feel assured that they are being listened to and action is being taken.”
The council plan to use the funding to gather information about the conditions of specific groups of privately rented properties and proactively engage with landlords so they can work with them to improve the poor living conditions faced by some residents renting in Cornwall. This could result in formal enforcement action if necessary.
The funding will be used to target potential problem properties such as:
- Residential properties used as houses of multiple occupation linked to commercial premises such as restaurants, takeaways and hotels.
- Flats within converted buildings linked to similar commercial premises
- Poorly converted self-contained flats within tourist areas and areas of high deprivation.
Cllr Monk adds: “The private rented sector is very important in providing much needed housing however, we have a duty of care to residents and the Council is committed to driving an improvement in standards.”
The project hopes to identify these specific types of properties, finding out if the housing falls short of expected standards, looking at how best to engage with landlords to raise the standard, and intervene to take enforcement action where appropriate.
Olly Monk adds: “This is about finding new ways to identify properties where our intervention is most needed and then to engage with landlords to make sure they are aware of their responsibilities and helping them to ensure their properties meet expectations. We are here to help both tenants and landlords.
“This additional funding will allow the Council to do more than just fulfil our statutory obligations such as HMO Licensing and responding to complaints from those facing hazardous property conditions.”