Advice charity backs council’s landlord plan

Local charity Citizens Advice 1066 has come out in support of Hastings Borough Council’s proposals for selective licensing of privately rented homes in some of the town’s most deprived wards.

The council is currently consulting on introducing selective licensing of privately rented accommodation in 10 wards.

It argues that, while many landlords operate responsibly, some fail to meet acceptable standards of management. With around half of privately rented homes locally failing to meet the national decent homes standard, the council believes that poor management of properties has led to unacceptable levels of anti-social behaviour. Its proposals are designed to improve the quality and management of property and drive up standards in the town. But the National Landlords Association is inviting landlords locally to help it show that the scheme will be damaging, arguing that it will lead to rising living costs for tenants. In the last year the bureau has helped 1,200 people with housing problems, with around half living in privately rented accommodation. One of the issues most frequently raised by people is a failure by landlords to maintain their property or make necessary repairs, with some fearing eviction if they complain. But not all landlords are deliberately avoiding tackling these problems. Citizens Advice 1066 believes that some are simply failing to act because they do not understand their responsibilities for their tenants’ accommodation. It welcomes the free advice and training for landlords already provided by the council.

Dina Christodoulou, chief executive of Citizens Advice 1066, said: “We support the council’s proposals and urge residents to do the same. But we would like the council to go even further. Its training for landlords is currently voluntary. We believe it should be a mandatory part of the licensing scheme so that all landlords fully understand what is required.”