More inspections on private landlords by Fenland District Council - but none fined in two years

PUBLISHED: 15:57 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:57 14 March 2018

Paul Shamplina says a visit to March with Channel 5’s Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords uncovered “the worst living conditions I had ever seen in my 27 years in this business”.

Paul Shamplina says a visit to March with Channel 5’s Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords uncovered “the worst living conditions I had ever seen in my 27 years in this business”.

Archant

Housing officers are carrying out more inspections than ever on homes to crack down on rogue landlords, but none have been fined in the last two years.

Fenland District Council (FDC) has visited 220 homes since April last year to check up on landlords.

Inspections have increased by 60 per cent since 2015, but no landlords have been fined or prosecuted in the last two years.

The council said that was because enforcement was a “last resort”.

A spokesman said: “FDC prefers to take informal action in the first instance because we want to educate landlords who do not manage their properties effectively or are not aware of their responsibilities towards their tenants.”

They added: “The informal approach makes landlords more aware of the hazards and gives them the opportunity to rectify issues.

If councils find health and safety hazards at homes they can order landlords to carry out repair work through something called an improvement notice.

FDC has issued 17 in the last two years.

The council has also found 27 of the most serious hazards since April in Fenland homes.

Those hazards can include serious mould and damp, severely cold homes and fire hazards.

The council said it had increased housing inspections because it had been given more funding to tackle rogue landlords.

Through Operation Pheasant, which targets migrant exploitation and rogue landlords, its housing team picks up intelligence on which homes to inspect.

The council has also been given government funding to tackle rogue landlords, which has led to the rise in the number of inspections.

It got £193,000 last year for private sector housing enforcement.

The condition of one home in March made national television last month when presenter of Channel 5’s Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords show Paul Shamplina said it was “the worst living conditions I had ever seen in my 27 years in this business”.

He said the tenant living at the property had been rent protected and was a compulsive hoarder who had refused the landlord’s right of access to the property.

The tenant died and it took the landlord three years to eventually gain possession of the home.

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