Many Local Authorities are struggling to crack down on rogue landlords because of a lack of public sector funding.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) surveyed a number of local authorities across the UK and uncovered an alarming number of failed prosecutions against bad landlords due to public sector cuts.
One local authority stated: “We generally have no budget to prosecute.”
Another local authority said that it had been unable to take anything through to the prosecution stage since 2009 because their legal department was so small.
A third council said that it had “practically disbanded its private sector housing team”.
In other areas, one environmental health officer was expected to cover the large geographical area of 2 local authorities, following a restructure.
Head of policy at CIEH, David Kidney, said: “This survey confirms our worst fears that many councils are finding it increasingly difficult to conduct investigations due to cutbacks in government housing expenditure. This is impairing the ability of EHOs to tackle abuses in the private rented sector. As we have said, it makes no economic sense to cut back investment in housing. The equation is a simple one: poor housing leads to poor
health which needs to longer NHS queues, which end up putting a further squeeze on the nation’s resources. The Government’s obsession with cutting spending is putting some of the most vulnerable people at risk. We must have an informed, evidence-based discussion about housing in this country.”
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