There have been a number of calls recently for there to be stricter regulation when it comes to landlords and letting agents as the amount of people now living in private rented accommodation has increased dramatically. Due to the fact that there is such a huge demand for private rented accommodation, rogue landlords are now letting out properties that are not up to the required standards, and many tenants believe that there is not much they can do about it.
However, Westminster City Council has inspected thousands of homes in the area in order to make sure that they are up to standard and are of good quality. The council said that: “Hundreds of privately rented properties in central London have been made safe after more than 1,500 inspections were carried out last year.” Westminster’s residential environmental health officers inspected a total of 1,712 privately rented properties in 2011/2012 in order to improve the living conditions for those in their constituency, and issued 206 legal notices to landlords who had properties that were below acceptable standards.
Westminster’s City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Jonathan Glanz said: “Around two in five homes in Westminster make up the private rented sector in the city, making it one of the UK’s largest; and so the council rightly takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that action is taken where necessary to ensure that all housing in the sector is of an acceptable standard. The majority of landlords in Westminster do provide decent homes, but there are powers in place which we, and other local authorities, can call upon for when landlords renting privately to tenants in their area do not play by the rules. Few seem to know that if you are privately renting in the capital, councils are there to help if your home puts your health at risk.”
There are certain regulations for private rented accommodations that landlords are required by law to adhere to, such as making sure that the property has properly fitted smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Landlords are also required to produce Energy Performance Certificates for all their properties if a tenant asks, and must fix any damages to a property that can cause health issues such as broken pipes or faulty wiring. Landlord insurance can help with the costs of keeping a property in good care, and if you are ever unsure as to what your responsibilities as a landlord are you can also contact them, or your local council, for advice.