'It's not about bashing landlords' say Calderdale councillors as they push for new housing policy

A new housing enforcement policy is not about bashing landlords but working to ensure everyone has a decent place to live, say Calderdale councillors.
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No one should lose sight of people being at the heart of the policy, which will mean more staff to deal with rogue landlords, a meeting of Calderdale Council’s cabinet heard.

The cabinet is recommending to councillors they approve a new way of dealing with housing.

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Recently, there has been considerable concern expressed over tragic incidents including the tragic death of Rochdale toddler Awaab Ishak, where housing conditions are said to have contributed to his death, said Coun Jenny Lynn.

Councillor Jenny LynnCouncillor Jenny Lynn
Councillor Jenny Lynn

For all these reasons, and concern also expressed by the Government, it was important to examine enforcement policy over housing in both public and private rented sectors, she said.

Coun Lynn (Lab, Park), cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, said this included relevant training and the right structure for staff, and committing more staff – inspectors in the community protection team – to frontline response.

It was work which was being done with partners including the emergency services, police, fire, social housing providers like Together Housing and health organisations to deliver not just enforcement but improvement, she added.

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Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot), cabinet member for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing, said he and Coun Lynn had also met with the Landlords Association.

Councillor Scott PatientCouncillor Scott Patient
Councillor Scott Patient

“I think it’s important that we do take a robust, fair and appropriate response,” he said.

“So this isn’t taking a cudgel to landlords, this is about trying to work with them where appropriate.

“There are many good ones out there.

“The ones who aren’t any good, we are going to make sure we work strongly with them and encourage them to go in the right direction, and the good ones to try and use this extra resource to make sure environments where people are living are up to scratch, that they are adequately heated, that there is no mould in there.”

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Councillors allowed for financing the extra staff, a cost of around £200,000, when approving this year’s budget.

The policy will enable the council to take action as early as possible – whether raising awareness and educating landlords and tenants, or, as a last resort, taking legal action, Coun Lynn has previously said.