Bridget today called upon the Government to protect tenants in Houghton & Sunderland South from rogue and absentee landlords. She was responding to a report by housing charity Shelter which demonstrated the appalling problems faced by private tenants because of rogue landlords. Bridget warned that plans from the Tory-led coalition government risked damaging the standard of private homes and the quality of life in their communities.

Since the election, the Government has announced it will sweep away key regulations introduced by Labour to protect private tenants. These include a national register of landlords set up to allow tenants to make basic checks on their prospective landlords, and enable Sunderland City Council to enforce letting rules more easily.

The findings in the report show the continuing problem of rogue landlords, at a time when the Government is rolling back commitments to protect private tenants, many of whom come from vulnerable groups.

The government also plans to remove laws which allowed councils to prevent the spread of Homes in Multiple Occupation and stop the damaging effects of absentee landlords. HMOs in high concentration can change the balance and nature of local communities when poorly managed. Legislation brought in by Labour gave councils the power to prevent the creation of new HMOs under planning laws and reign in the problems associated with absentee landlords.

Bridget said:

“There are 2,202 private tenants in Houghton & Sunderland South, all of whom stand to lose out from changes to landlord regulations. At the same time whole areas of the constituency could be harmed if Sunderland City Council isn’t able to restrain the spread of HMOs.”

“Shelter’s research confirms that private tenants are suffering under a minority of dodgy and absentee landlords at a time when the Government is putting landlords’ interests over those of tenants and rolling back key protective regulations.”

Rt Hon John Healey MP, Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning, said:

“The Government is letting local residents down by removing controls on bad landlords; they make tenants’ lives a misery and their neglect can cause widespread grief for neighbours too.

“Bridget is right to campaign for greater power to protect local residents in Houghton & Sunderland South.”

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