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The government has delivered a sharp rebuke to Labour-controlled city council after hearing from the National Landlords Association that it was found to be “unfairly penalising” landlords.
Hull City Council has been taking an aggressive stance against landlords whose tenants report them for an alleged failing in their property, serving them with enforcement notices before they have had the opportunity to address a tenant’s complaint. But after hearing the protests of landlords at a meeting with the National Landlords Association (NLA) and Humber Landlords Association, the Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP called on Matt Jukes, chief executive of Hull City Council, to “work with these landlords”.
Hull City Council has introduced the Hull Accredited Landlords Scheme, whose members are given an exemption from an immediate council inspection following a report from a tenant. But the NLA told the minister that there is confusion over the entry criteria for the scheme, which is free to join and only requires the landlord to attend a one-day training course on housing health and safety.
In a letter to Mr Jukes, Mrs Wheeler said: “I was extremely concerned to hear reports that many landlords in Hull are not fully aware of, or have misunderstood, the standards they must meet to become a member of the scheme. It is crucial that you work to bring landlords with you and are communicating effectively to do so.”
Gavin Dick, Local Authority Policy Officer at the NLA, said:
“Hull City Council has been unfairly penalising landlords. While it should penalise landlords who don’t provide safe, habitable homes, it isn’t right that good landlords should be punished before having the chance to fix any problems they weren’t previously aware of. The vast majority of landlords want to rectify issues as soon as they arise. Councils must not tarnish all landlords with the same brush.
“It’s unfortunate that we had to take this matter to the minister, but we are encouraged that our collective voices have been heard and Hull City Council now needs to take immediate steps to ensure all landlords in Hull understand the Hull Accredited Landlords Scheme.
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