Councillors agree plans to regulate private rented housing in the district

11/10/2017, PR8667

​Senior councillors have approved a new set of measures to help improve conditions for people living in private rented housing in the district.

Wakefield city centre

Wakefield Council’s Cabinet, met on Tuesday October 10 to discuss how the number of homes in the private sector has tripled in recent years, which includes a substantial increase in the number of homes which are in multiple-occupancy.

In 2001 it was estimated that five percent of housing in the Wakefield district were privately rented, in 2016 this rose to 18,000 which is 15 percent.

While the majority of landlords provide well maintained homes, some homes are unsafe and badly managed, which means that more help is needed to support those tenants living in bad conditions.

The meeting heard that in parts of the district terraced homes have been converted into homes of multiple occupancy, and there were concerns about the conditions in some of these homes. Changes to the benefits system and a lack of social housing mean that more people are reliant on the private housing sector.

Cllr Denise Jeffery
Cllr Denise Jeffery

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration at Wakefield Council said: “We have to work with some very serious problems in our wards. We have a lot of good landlords but some are abusing the system and we need to tackle the situation.”

Measures approved will strengthen the Council’s enforcement powers to improve conditions in the private sector. This will also help to tackle health and social inequalities which affect people who are living in poorly maintained accommodation.

Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said he fully recognised there was a need for the Council to support tenants who have raised issues about their housing and to help get their issues resolved.

By improving conditions, and where necessary taking enforcement action against rogue landlords, the Council will support tenants to ensure they are treated fairly and within the law.

The report explained that the private rental sector is an important part of the district’s housing offer and, where accommodation is safe and well maintained, works well for those who prefer to rent or who need flexibility because of their work.

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