According to a report today there has been an increase in complaints by private sector tenants about landlords in South Cheshire and North Staffordshire. This news comes shortly after reports that landlords are being urged by local authorities to register to a landlords association so that they are legally responsible to keep their properties at a certain standard. The increase in complaints started at the same time of the economic downturn, meaning that councils are worried that private sector landlords are attempting to cut corners with the maintenance of their properties in order to save money.
In Stoke-on-Trent the number of complaints has risen from 424 in 2008, to 564 in 2011, five hundred of which were already reported by October. Furthermore, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is receiving 146 complaints each year, whilst Cheshire East Council has received over five hundred every year since 2009.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for housing, Councillor Jane Bridges has said: “We are committed to working with landlords to raise the quality of rented accommodation. More than 450 landlords, covering over 2,400 privately-rented properties, have joined the Landlord Accreditation Scheme for North and Central Staffordshire. The scheme is an initiative by the city council and other authorities and recognises good standards of accommodation. We expect private landlords to provide the same high quality of accommodation as the council and will use every means at our disposal to ensure it happens.”
Most complaints to councils are generally concerning landlords whom constantly fail to repair problems such as broken wiring and damp, as well as fail to help with problems such as rat infestations. However, figures have also shown that most of the time once the council issues a landlord with a formal complaint than the matter is generally resolved quickly.
Many landlord insurance policies help pay for the cost of maintenance and repairs, meaning that private sector landlords can have problems fixed quickly and effectively and maintain a good relationship between themselves and their tenants.