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WALSALL: Policy to tackle rogue landlords

WALSALL: Policy to tackle rogue landlords

009.JPG Walsall Council House, photo George Makin. copyright Trinity Mirror

An “explosion” of bedsits and sub-standard rented housing in Walsall will be tackled under a new licensing scheme.

Walsall Council’s cabinet agreed to implement a pilot project in a bid to raise the quality of accommodation in the borough and tackle rogue landlords.

It will initially run in the Paddock, Palfrey, Pleck and St Matthews wards in the borough with plans to roll it out to other areas that are seeing more bedsit type properties, known as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), being created in the area.

Earlier this month, a nine bedroom HMO proposal was rejected by the authority’s planning committee following pleas by residents it would destroy their community.

Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said he was “sick and tired” of seeing a proliferation of such housing and vowed to bring in a policy to look at the impact they had on areas.

At the cabinet meeting on Wednesday (October 20), the authority’s deputy leader Adrian Andrew said: “Although we do recognise a need for homes of multiple occupancy within the housing sector, there is an increasing concern to many residents and councillors of all parties across the borough regarding the number of HMOs that are appearing in our communities.

“There are a number of issues many people have reported associated with HMOs that are not managed correctly.

“This pilot will initially cover four wards so it can drill down into the problem we have with HMOs.

“This is about tackling the rogue landlords and not punishing the good ones of which we have many.

“We all know the explosion of HMOs is changing our communities and is changing residential streets and it’s time we started to tackle this and move this forward in terms of managing them in a better way.

“Should this pilot be successful it will be expanded to other areas of the borough where we have a particular problem with this such as Willenhall and Darlaston.”

Councillor Stephen Craddock, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, added: “We know poor housing is closely linked to poor physical and mental wellbeing.

“Houses are more than physical structures, they are homes where we raise our families, socialise with friends, unwind and generally feel safe.

“There are many good an conscientious landlords that provide good high quality rental properties. However this isn’t always the case.

“In too many instances our residents are living in sub-standard accommodation damaging to their physical and mental wellbeing.

“I welcome the licensing scheme and it’s aim to improve the quality of houses in multiple occupation.”

Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter

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