A new hotline has been launched by Daventry District Council in a bid to improve living conditions for people in privately rented or shared housing.
The dedicated number 01327 302288 has been set up to help people report in confidence any concerns they may have about the condition of a privately rented property in the District.
People are also encouraged to report any Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – commonly referred to as house shares – that they believed may be unlicensed or in a poor state of repair.
The new initiative comes in response to the massive growth of the private rental sector in recent years. According to national figures, there were 2.5 million landlords in the UK in 2018, and 11 million people living in rented accommodation.
As well as the new hotline, people can also report a suspected HMO or a privately rented house in disrepair in confidence by visiting www.daventrydc.gov.uk/hmo or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
And while most landlords take their responsibilities to their tenants seriously, a small minority do not, allowing their tenants to live in poor conditions, causing ill health and distress.
National figures suggest that as many as 1 in 3 rental properties are not of a decent living standard, and 1 in 6 rented houses are dangerous to live in.
The rental market plays an important role in providing housing for people living in Daventry District, and HMOs provide cheaper accommodation for residents whose housing options are limited.
However they can also pose greater risks than other types of accommodation for overcrowding and fire, which is why Daventry District Council is working to ensure that all HMOs in the District are safe and properly licenced.
Councillor Richard Auger, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health and Housing on Daventry District Council, said: “Our District is a popular place to live and work, and with the rental sector increasingly popular, it is more important than ever to ensure everyone here has a safe, well-managed place to live.
“In some instances, HMOs have been used by opportunistic rogue landlords, some driven by monetary gain, to exploit vulnerable tenants, and rent properties that are overcrowded, sub-standard and potentially dangerous.
“We are working with landlords and our partners to protect the health and safety of the tenants, but I would appeal to residents across the District to help be our eyes and ears on this, and report any concerns they have to us so we can investigate and take action where required.”