Tenants’ union slams council for dealing with landlord issues informally



ACORN Brighton has accused the council of letting down renters after it emerged that landlord issues are dealt with informally, as there have been no prosecutions in Brighton in the past three years.

This follows research from openDemocracy which found that half of councils haven’t prosecuted any landlords in that timeframe, which has prompted some angry reactions from tenant unions.

A spokesman for ACORN, a community union in Brighton, said the news was “unsurprising”, adding that “exploitative landlords have gone unchallenged for too long”.

He added: “Brighton and Hove City Council has failed miserably and let down renters who deserve better.

“We are pleased to have recently forced a commitment from the council to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to rogue landlords and to create a public database of law-breaking landlords, but this progress needs to be followed through and backed up by firm and meaningful action on these promises if we are to fix the housing crisis in our city.”

In response, Martin Osbourne, Brighton and Hove’s councillor for the private rented sector, said the council likes to deal with issues informally, though it would take stronger action where appropriate.

Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director for campaign group Generation Rent, has spoken out about these informal measures.

He said: “When your home is making you unwell, the council should be there to help and prosecute or fine your landlord if they fail to take action to fix things.

“Unfortunately councils often use informal enforcement action leaving tenants unprotected and letting criminal landlords off the hook.”

He went on to say that a national landlord register would make it easier for councils to take action, along with more funding.

 

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