ARTICLES

Council Gets tough on Rogue Landlords

Last week the Echo ran the following story-

THE senior councillor in charge of social housing in Southend has pledged to wage war on rogue landlords following an Echo expose.

Anna Waite launched the offensive in the wake of the council striking a ground-breaking legal deal with the owner of scores of grotty flats and bedsits across the town.

The deal saw the owner hand control of the properties over to an approved letting agent in a bid to raise standards.

Mrs Waite, councillor responsible for adult social care health and housing, said the authority was now investigating a number of suspected unlicenced rental premises.

She said: “I intend to be very proactive in rooting out disreputable landlords in the private sector, which is fundamental in turning deprived areas of the town centre around.

“I won’t hesitate in recommending enforcement action being taken against landlords if properties aren’t up to standard.”

Hon Shu Pang, 69, and Yeun Ming Pang, 62, of Southchurch Road, Southend, gave up control of three bedsit blocks they ran – two in York Road and one at 51 Marine Parade, Southend – to an agent to avoid prosecution over seven charges each of breaching rented housing rules.

The council prosecution of the couple followed a special investigation by this newspaper.

We reported vulnerable people on housing benefits were being housed in squalid rooms. Now Mrs Waite, who pressed for the council to reach the landmark agreement, said the council was determined to improve conditions for private sector tenants in Southend.

It has already signed up to the Thames Gateway South Essex Landlord Accreditation Scheme, which will ensure better standards. She added: “Tenants renting from accredited landlords do so in the knowledge their properties meet the most rigorous standards of safety and fuel efficiency.

“We are also looking at strengthening our licensing powers in relation to houses of multiple occupation, namely rented accommodation with five or more rooms sharing communal areas over three storeys, and private sector landlords in parts of the town where we consider this will be beneficial.

“The council has already identified a number of addresses where unregistered properties may exist and has instructed its enforcement team to investigate these.”

* Anyone who suspects a property may be unregistered bedsits can contact the council by sending an e-mail to privatesectorhousing@southend.gov.uk

What others think and say-

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The Times- Focus on Property

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