Derbyshire councils to tackle poor quality private rented homes

Three Derbyshire councils will be sharing £1.21-million government funding over the next two years to tackle poor quality properties in the private rented sector.

The funding comes from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, which approached Derbyshire Dales District Council in September this year in its bid to support areas of greatest need.

Derbyshire Dales then reached out to neighbouring councils to deliver the project at a bigger scale - and both Amber Valley Borough Council and Erewash Borough Council came on board.

Tim Braund, Derbyshire Dales' Director of Regulatory Services, said: "While there is still considerable detail to be worked out, this is an exciting partnership project. To make a significant impact on the private rented sector across the three authority areas we think it's reasonable to aim to inspect around 500 properties per authority per 12-month period of the study.

"The funding will pay mainly for project management, staffing, and associated costs, with Derbyshire Dales - which has a relatively high proportion of older properties in the private rented sector - being the lead authority."

A key area of the joint study will be to build an understanding of what is needed to bring privately rented properties up to the proposed Decent Homes Standard, and how landlords respond to enforcement. 

Amber Valley's Head of Housing and Growth, David Arkle said: "It's important to stress that the vast majority of private landlords provide a great service; it's only a small minority that let down the sector.

"Working in partnership we want to collectively raise the profile of successful enforcement, changing expectations and driving improvement in pilot areas and beyond, while finding the best ways to develop an evidence base of effective approaches to enforcement and share best practices."

In its initial stages, the study will need to include a significant amount of intelligence gathering around issues such as identifying geographical areas with the highest proportions and numbers of privately rented properties and those areas that have the most "non-decent" homes.

Councillor Paul Maginnis, Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing at Erewash Borough Council, says: "The funding will enable the council to prioritise tackling poor quality private rented sector properties in the borough, and help us to build an understanding of what is needed to bring private rented sector properties up to the proposed Decent Homes Standard."

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