A new initiative by Oxfordshire County Council is set to take on rogue landlords in an effort to protect tenants from poor quality housing.
And in cases where landlords are failing to meet standards by providing poor accommodation or ripping off tenants with unfair fees and deposits, the council’s trading standards team is poised to take action. It is currently developing a practical process to implement formal action and civil penalty arrangements, where needed.
Oxfordshire has some of the highest rental costs in the country, compounded by areas of high demand and short supply.
The council plans to increase its work in educating and advising landlords and letting agents of their legal requirements. This includes providing accurate descriptions of property, ensuring that consumers are fully informed about the availability of redress schemes and deposit protection schemes, as well as an imminent ban on unfair letting fees.
Involving a range of partners, the initiative would seek to ensure that landlords have access to good quality information on meeting property safety standards, including requirements of the Fire Safety Order.
Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Community Safety, said: “Some landlords might not understand their legal requirements in ensuring they make premises safe for residents, and we hope we can work constructively with them.
“However, our trading standards team cannot tolerate exploitation of tenants by rogue landlords and letting agents. We will use all our powers to protect vulnerable residents.”