Conference to discuss poor state of rentals
The poor state of rented housing in Cornwall is to be discussed at a major conference in the county later this week.
More than 50% of private rented homes in Cornwall do not meet the Government's "decent homes standard".
The sector has also grown by 10,000 dwellings in the last 10 years, outstripping the supply of social rented homes for the first time, and now accounts for almost 20% (34,000 homes) of all housing provision in Cornwall.
Landlords, property owners, letting agents and tenants are being invited to join a debate about housing standards at Heartlands, in Pool, on Friday.
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Organised by Cornwall Council, in partnership with Glow Cornwall, the Cornwall Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association, it will focus on whether the local authority needs more powers to force owners to bring properties up to scratch or whether a more softly, softly approach is required. Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities and housing Geoff Brown says: "I'm sure it will be an interesting and lively debate around the quality of private rented accommodation and how we can best make sure that homes are of a decent standard.
"Cornwall Council is committed to raising standards across the private rented sector wherever necessary and I urge those involved in the rented sector to attend this conference and to help influence how Cornwall Council can achieve that aim."
Delegates at the conference will hear from representatives from the London borough of Newham, which is advocating a licensing approach which would force landlords to comply with conditions.
The South West Landlords Association will be advocating a voluntary accreditation scheme and aims to support good landlords and property agents through education and support.
The conference comes in the wake of a report for the housing charity Shelter which said 45% of people in private rented accommodation were in "bad housing".
It claimed thousands of people in the region were living at the mercy of rogue landlords who were failing to maintain their properties and putting families at risk.
And Shelter said the extent of the problem was supported by the number of complaints made about private landlords to local authorities – 11,800 in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset in the last four years.
Shelter wants local councils to sign up to its Evict Rogue Landlords campaign to "protect renting families".