Hotline puts heat on poor landlords

Bad landlords beware – a new hotline means there will be soon be no hiding place for those who fail to manage their properties correctly.

Liverpool City Council has launched a confidential freephone line (0800 707 6245), allowing tenants to report poor quality landlords.

Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Landlord Whistle Blowing Hotline can be used by private tenants to report landlord issues such as:

• Intimidating behaviour towards tenants
• Criminal activity
• Overcrowding
• Antisocial behaviour
• Unlicensed HMOs

Calls will trigger an investigation from the Public Protection Enforcement Team.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We are absolutely determined to drive up the quality of private rented properties in this city, and a major part of this is making sure tenants feel safe and secure in their homes.

“This hotline will provide an invaluable resource to those who are being mistreated by their landlords, or whose accommodation is being poorly managed or maintained. It will also allow us to gain intelligence – and take firm action – on unlicensed properties and those which have become a focal point for anti-social behaviour, criminal activity and fly-tipping.

“This is just one part of the work we are doing, through our 10 Point Pledge, to work with landlords and create a level playing field for all. It’s about us building on our positive relationships with good landlords in the city, while clamping down on those who refuse to engage with us, and whose practices give Liverpool’s private rented sector a bad name.”

All calls received by the team, based at the city council’s contact centre, Liverpool Direct, will be logged on an electronic form, with the questions designed to obtain as much information as possible from callers about their concerns.

Callers can choose to remain anonymous, and any personal information which is provided will remain confidential and cannot be passed to anyone without the caller’s prior permission.

Emergency calls – such as when a tenant is at risk of harm or danger, or there is a health and wellbeing or child safeguarding risk – will be passed to Merseyside Police or to Liverpool Direct Limited’s Careline Service.

The new hotline forms part of the city’s ’10 Point Pledge’ to raise standards in the Private Rented Sector. It sees the council engaging with landlords on a range of positive initiatives such as a Landlord Accreditation Scheme, which recognises good practice, and dedicated forum which gives private landlords a voice in shaping the future development of the sector.

There are more than 50,000 private tenancies in Liverpool.

 

10 Point Pledge

As well as the Landlord Whistle Blowing Hotline, Liverpool City Council’s 10 Point Pledge for landlords also includes:

• The adoption of a Liverpool Standard for private rented housing which will set out the minimum standards expected of landlords.

• A free, voluntary register for landlords to encourage better communications with the council.

• A citywide landlord accreditation scheme, which recognises good landlords and promotes their ‘beacon’ status to prospective tenants.

Incentives for landlords who manage their properties well, including access to renewal funding.

• A dedicated website for landlords and tenants.

• A Landlords Advisory Group comprised of landlords and also lettings and managing agents.

• A Rogue Landlords Hit Squad, which will seek out and investigate poor landlords and take appropriate action.

 

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