Crackdown on rogue landlords in Ashfield

ROGUE landlords are to be targeted after complaints about unruly behaviour across the area.

Ashfield District Council has announced a new drive to crack down on the problems by restructuring its private-sector enforcement team and setting on a new officer.

The area has a high level of privately-rented properties - but a large number are in a very poor condition and complaints about neglectful landlords have almost doubled between 2006 and 2011 — from 339 to 585.

Council bosses hope a new team member will allow them to deal with all emergency cases more quickly as demand for their service increases.

They have set a response time of three days. Tenants whose landlords fail to help them often approach the team for an inspection, which paves the way for official intervention from the council.

Coun Steven Carroll, portfolio holder for culture and housing, said: “We want to work with landlords and solve issues that arise. But at the same time, we will deal with landlords.

“We already have a service in place to deal with these problems. But if someone makes a complaint, it can take up to two weeks to deal with.”

The enforcement team deals with all issues relating to the condition and occupation of privately rented accommodation, as well as caravan-site licensing, illegal encampments, empty properties, overcrowding, illegal evictions and filthy and verminous properties.

It is currently made up of a senior environmental health officer, one part-time environmental health officer, a technical officer and a full-time administrative officer.

The new recruit will be a specialist environmental health officer.

Over the past few years, team members have started working in close partnership with police and fire service to deal more effectively with housing problems.

Added Coun Carroll: “We are giving a lot of backing to community support officers now because it is time for a joined-up approach to deal with the issues people are facing in the community.”