News: Council admits it: 'We don't have staff to police private rental sector'

Fri, 22 Feb 19

A local authority in the Midlands has admitted what many people have believed for some time - despite a slew of rules governing the private rental sector, it doesn’t have enough officers to police the lettings industry.

Media reports in the Midlands say that Walsall council’s economy and environment overview and scrutiny committee discussed the absence of officers at a meeting debating selective licensing in the area.

An officer told the committee that while policies existed, they could not be put into effect properly because of low staff numbers.

The officer said there were some 15,000 private rental properties in Walsall but only two qualified members of staff to cover them. 

And a report by a licensing working group showed there had been no prosecutions of landlords in the past five years, although a report to councillors highlighted how dozens of improvement notices and emergency prohibition orders had been issued in the same period.

The councillor who chairs the committee told the meeting:"Better housing will not be achieved without adequate resources of qualified local authority staff to inspect, regulate and to facilitate the improvements needed, especially in the older housing stock.”

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