Barking and Dagenham council crack down

THE COUNCIL could soon be given more powers to crack down on irresponsible private landlords. On a visit to Thames View last week Housing Minister, John Healey, said he understood many borough residents were fed-up with landlords who neglect their proper

THE COUNCIL could soon be given more powers to crack down on irresponsible private landlords.

On a visit to Thames View last week Housing Minister, John Healey, said he understood many borough residents were fed-up with landlords who neglect their properties and fail to tackle troublesome tenants.

Speaking to Barking MP Margaret Hodge, who raised the issue, he said: "I have visited Barking and Dagenham three times in less than a year and am aware of these concerns.

"I am examining a number of ways to address this issue, including extending the powers councils have to tackle anti-social behaviour when it occurs."


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Mrs Hodge told the minister, who was in the borough to announce extra funding for new council homes, she wants landlords to be legally obliged to "deal promptly with anti-social behaviour or face enforcement action."

She also said local authorities should be given a duty to hold a list of private landlords in their area - so they are contactable if any problems arise.

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Speaking to the POST last week, the MP said: "Time and time again I meet constituents whose lives are being made a misery by anti-social neighbours. But 'buy-to-let' means it's difficult enough to find out who the landlord is, let alone get them to act.

"At the moment private landlords have the power to act but not the responsibility to do so. This simply has to change."

Mrs Hodge says a vibrant private housing sector was essential for meeting the borough's housing needs, but says landlords must be more responsible in the community.

She also believes something needs to done to stop absentee landlords buying up new housing being built in the borough - a big problem, she says, at Barking Riverside.

"We must make sure these new homes are used to meet local need.

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