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ROGUE LANDLORDS: Let us know who they are

Council sets up confidential hotline - 01205 314333

A confidential hotline has been set up by Boston Borough Council to gather more information about rogue landlords.

Callers to the hotline number - 01205 314333 - from Monday, September 1, will be asked to record their concerns about a property, landlord or letting agent in the borough. They will need to give the address of the property, a brief account of the issues and, if known, the name of the landlord.

Callers will not need to leave their own details, but it may prove useful for borough council housing officers should any additional information be required. They do not have to give this information, but if they chose to do, it will be kept strictly confidential. There may be occasions when the information is shared with Rogue Landlord partners - the police and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

The hotline is a part of the borough council's Rogue Landlords initiative and information could be anything from a report of multiple occupancy - which may not be illegal, but can be easily checked by the

council - through to serious risks to health through poor accommodation.

Cllr Mike Gilbert the borough council's portfolio holder for housing, property and community, said: "This is an important part of our policy of cracking down on landlords who fail to offer a good standard of accommodation that is properly maintained.

It's one of a range of activities that this administration is delivering to drive up housing standards in Boston."

Borough council housing officer Kevin Martin said: "There are probably 1,000 landlords in Boston, and many are good landlords who have nothing to fear from this. Sadly, there are some who see profit before people and will take advantage of sometimes vulnerable people and have little regard for their wellbeing. These are the ones we are targeting, and these are the ones we want people to call the hotline about.

"Our main concerns are for those living in below-standard accommodation.

"In many cases the rogue property owner, landlord or letting agent would not let their family live in properties with poor facilities, inadequate heating and insulation and non-serviced gas and electrical appliances.

"Houses that are multiple occupied should have a higher level of management and safety aspects simply because facilities are being provided for lots of people. Any landlord or letting agent who knowingly runs an HMO without adhering to the regulations should be identified as rogue.

"The council is committed to improving the quality and management of the private-rented sector in the borough. In the worst cases we will prosecute offenders."

Since the Rogue Landlords initiative the council has visited several hundred properties, inspected over 100 and around 50 notices have been served requiring repairs and improvements. Mr Martin said progress is being made with "significant improvements made to some of the worst properties".