New bid to tackle Leeds’s bad landlords

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Leeds City Council could set up its own letting agency alongside other proposals to improve housing conditions in the private rented sector.

A recommendation to establish a council-run letting scheme for private landlords is being put to councillors on the executive board at their meeting today. (March 9)

The proposed letting agency would offer a full service to landlords including everything from tenancy agreements, inventories, inspections and advertising to repairs and maintenance.

It builds on an existing scheme that the council already offers, matching prospective tenants and landlords. The council also inspects properties to ensure they are up to standard and covers costs such as up front bonds and costs for damage.

It is estimated that there are over 58,000 privately rented properties in Leeds.

Other recommendations include setting up a rogue landlord unit to tackle landlords who do not fulfil their legal responsibility and charging landlords to cover costs when the authority has to take enforcement action.

Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said:“The proposals executive board are being asked to consider would put us in a far better position to help ensure there is supply of affordable, warm, welcoming and safe homes to rent on the private market with support through our own letting agency and targeted enforcement.

“Tackling poor conditions in privately rented accommodation and empty homes on a street-by-street basis with our Leeds Neighbourhood Approach has already seen major improvements. Expanding this in Holbeck, exploring options for selective licensing and the other recommendations we’re being asked to approve represent a comprehensive package that will allow us to vastly improve conditions in the private rented sector.”