Thanet Council has become one of the first authorities in the country to take tough action under a new law.
Council officers were called in to inspect 70 Sweyn Road, Cliftonville, after complaints from members of the public and neighbouring properties about anti-social behaviour of the tenants and damage to the property. Officers found the property had no hot running water, no secure doors to the premises, no banisters on the stairs, all the fire doors were smashed, the fire alarm panel broken and was generally poorly managed.
Because of the number of immediate health and safety risks in the property, officers used new powers under the Housing Act 2004, which came into force earlier this year, to impose an Emergency Prohibition Order. This effectively shuts down the property and prevents anyone from living there. The residents were temporarily re-housed by the Council’s Housing Needs Team and will not be allowed to return to the property, until remedial works are carried out. If it is to be used as a House in Multiple Occupation in the future, then it will require a mandatory licence under the Housing Act.
Cllr. Ingrid Spencer, Cabinet Member for Housing and Community, said: “This sends out a clear message to rogue landlords. We are not prepared to tolerate such appalling conditions in any property in our area and we are not afraid to take action to stamp out this problem. Landlords need to understand that they have responsibilities to their tenants and under the Housing Act, they have to provide good quality accommodation that doesn’t put their tenants in danger. We are working hard to regenerate Thanet and we will not let rogue landlords drag the area down. It’s time they realised they have two options – improve the standards of their properties or face action like this.”
The owner of the property is now looking at either improving the property, converting it into flats or selling the premises.