Spotlight on landlords

Coun Mary Fleet and Stephen Thomas pictured with the petition at Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Coun Mary Fleet and Stephen Thomas pictured with the petition at Hartlepool Civic Centre.

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AN inquiry has been launched into the effectiveness of private sector housing schemes.

Selective licensing, landlord accreditation, good tenant schemes and policies dealing with empty homes are all to be examined over the next five months by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Services Scrutiny Forum.

Its members are urging private sector tenants and landlords to get involved by coming along to its future meetings and sharing their views.

The council currently operates a number of private sector housing schemes to improve the condition and management of properties and reduce anti-social behaviour, with Perth Street and Baden Street picked out as two problem areas.

As well as examining current private sector housing schemes in town, the forum will also be looking at the impact of current and future budget pressures on those schemes and exploring how they can be provided in the future.

It will also consider whether there are alternative ways of reducing anti-social behaviour and helping to promote good communities.

Councillor Stephen Thomas, chairman of the forum, said: “The forum felt that the time was right to look at the effectiveness of these schemes, particularly in the light of recent experiences in areas of Hartlepool such as Perth Street and Baden Street, where there have been issues around anti-social behaviour and the conduct of some landlords.

“We are also very keen to identify best practice with regard to future private sector housing schemes.

“As part of our inquiry we would very much like to hear from anyone with experience as a private sector tenant or landlord.”

The forum’s next meeting is at 4.30pm on Wednesday, September 14, in Committee Room B of the civic centre with the forum hoping to see private sector landlords taking part.

A series of focus groups are also being held from mid-September to mid-October to seek the views of tenants.

For more information about this investigation – including how to submit evidence or get involved in the focus groups – contact scrutiny support officer Elaine Hind on (01429) 523647 or e-mail elaine.hind@hartlepool.gov.uk