LETTER: Action is needed to regulate HMOs for community
As an addendum to Sarah Cliss’ article ‘HMO landlords should pay up’, I would like to point out that HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) are a significant factor in anti-social behaviour and the deprivation of certain areas of our towns.
This comes at a vast cost to our district council’s finite and dwindling resources.
To put it bluntly the rate payers of Fenland should not be forced to pay for commercial businesses that are sucking the lifeblood out of our ability as a council to pay for much needed and vital services.
Some of these services are needed because of these private landlords’ lack of self-regulation and blatant disregard for the needs and well-being of their tenants, neighbouring properties and the wider community.
In a time of plenty these problems often go unchecked but in times of austerity they must not be ignored.
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Why must we accept areas of decay and deprivation caused by commercial opportunism?
Opportunism financed by the community charge to you, me and businesses totally unconnected to the private rented sector.
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Fenland District Council (FDC) has recently gone through a CSR (Comprehensive Spending Review). We as a council have had to make draconian cuts to our budget.
We have decimated our work force, jobs have had to be combined or completely shed.
There is a whole strata of businesses that have to be regulated such as taxi drivers, hairdressers, public houses.
These people and businesses are licensed to protect the public from rogue operators. Most of them, like private landlords, are upright and legitimate people and businesses.
They’re licensed to keep their enterprises fit for purpose so that people can be assured that they have standards of professionalism and an understanding of public health and safety.
Tenants should have every right to expect their homes are healthy, safe, well maintained and fit for purpose. Landlords should be able to expect tenants to follow reasonable rules and have respect for their property and business investment.
Neighbours should be able to live beside neighbours who understand minimum levels of decency and reasonable behaviour; the wider community should not have the extra burdens some unregulated tenanted houses cause.
FDC is the licensing authority but has no budget to pay for the extra staff and resources required to control the seriously corrupt and rogue landlords.
Some form of the Government’s Selective Licensing must be introduced to protect our community.
CLLR MIKE BUCKNOR
Waterlees Village Ward