Working for a safe and happy Christmas for all
With Christmas around the corner and many houses across our district brightly decorated, we hope we can all be cosy and safe in our homes to enjoy the festivities. Let’s hope the dog does not eat the presents, the fairy lights work and the calories are negligible!
These factors apply equally to residents in rented accommodation: presents, lights and dogs are a matter of choice, of course! But our housing officers and the whole team (whether repairing, inspecting, or introducing new tenants) are at work 365 days a year to ensure our homes are safe, secure and as warm as residents like and need.
Rented accommodation too must provide a healthy environment for all who live in a property and there is legislation (and standards) in place to ensure this is delivered. Your district council has a responsibility to act against anyone who does not comply with this and we do not hesitate to do so.
For example, we took swift and effective action after our team recently carried out an inspection in Holbeach, of what was supposedly a family home. In fact, it was found to be housing up to 18 people and was, in reality, an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (commonly known as an HMO).
We found a series of safety concerns, including dangerous staircases, unsafe electrics and a severe lack of adequate fire protection throughout the building. We acted quickly and served an emergency protection notice which ensured the building could not remain occupied.
Previously, we had taken action against another landlord who had failed to act upon identified hazards, as well as failing to licence the property as an HMO. A fine of more than £4,000 was levied on this landlord for providing unacceptable housing which put the health and safety of occupants at risk. Neither were homes where anyone could be comfortable at Christmas or any other time of the year.
So please be reassured that we are committed to the protection of our residents, whether by tackling rogue landlords, promoting healthy living (extra calories at Christmas a given, however) or spreading awareness of the blight of scam calls and emails which are sadly ever-present.
These negative examples do not represent what is best and most often found in our communities. Most people are honest, most landlords are decent, and most dogs get a bad press about present-eating - or is that just Alfie the cockapoo?
May I wish all our tenants, residents and visitors a Happy Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.