The challenge for responsible landlords

Last November, the Council highlighted the example of one landlord of a multi-occupancy house on Pitsmoor Road. A joint inspection (Council and Fire Service) of the premises had been carried out following complaints that it was being let without a license. Alarms were found to be not working and fire doors were either missing or didn’t fit.

The landlord was instructed to bring the property up to a safe standard and carry out essential works. Two hours before the final inspection was due to take place – thankfully, after the fire doors had been properly installed – a kitchen fire broke out causing serious damage. But with the modifications in place, none of the tenants were harmed and damage confined to the kitchen. As Cllr Weldon said:

“The pressure the council and the fire service placed on the landlord made a massive difference; this could easily have been a different, and tragic, story….we investigated due to complaints – we owe it to the tenants and city’s responsible landlords”.

Two months later, this same landlord was fined £1,920 for breaching health and safety laws, for not undertaking all the required works in a specified period. A spot check on his property revealed the lack of legal requirements including fire alarms, fire exits, fire-resistant doors and emergency lighting. Richard Taylor, from the Sheffield Fire Safety Team, said:

“I hope this sends out a message that landlords have a responsibility for the safety of their occupants. They need to take appropriate measures to bring their properties up to the required standard.”

There are many good landlords who provide high quality accommodation to rent. But there are a number of landlords who, maybe out of ignorance, maybe through cutting corners, give the private rented sector a bad name. There is a greater spotlight on private rented housing these days as the pressure on council housing grows, and people have more difficulty trying to buy. And in the Fir Vale and Burngreave area, we have a high and growing proportion of private rented housing.

Support for tenants and landlords

To respond to this, the Council is determined to try and improve matters for tenants and for landlords. A team of staff are employed to work in some parts of the city, especially in Burngreave and Fir Vale areas to encourage better management of, and physical improvements in, the housing stock; help create a better local environment; and provide practical advice and support to landlords and tenants. The team helps run the “landlords for excellence” course at Hallam University – to explain and consider how better management practices can be developed -, and runs the Responsible Landlords Scheme (with a range of benefits). The team also responds directly to tenants with information and help on disrepair matters; tenancy rights, security of tenure and illegal eviction. If neighbours want to check out their concerns, they can contact the team as well. How – either ring 273 4680 or email to

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The content on this page was added to the website by Douglas Johnson on 2008-04-05 17:14:56.
The content of the page was last modified by Douglas Johnson on 2008-04-05 17:18:01.
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