Amber Valley Borough Council is aiming to crack down on “landlords that seek to profit from letting out poor quality and dangerous accommodation”.
However, the Borough Council believes that far fewer residents are reporting concerns about their privately-rented homes than they would expect.
It says that “compared to the number of properties that are likely to have hazards, very few complaints or referrals are received”.
Due to this, the council says it is important to work out how to ensure that residents who need enforcement intervention between the tenant and landlord are able to access support.
The borough council says that “there are fundamental issues with the balance of power between the tenant and landlord”.
It also says: “ It is widely understood that there are many rented properties that are unlikely to be inspected and will avoid enforcement.”
The council says that a borough-wide licensing programme could address this issue, but that it currently would struggle to justify the resources it would need.
Meanwhile, the borough council says that it works with Derbyshire Law Centre to provide the best response to complaints from residents about illegal evictions and harassment.
But it says: “It is strongly felt that this is under-reported by tenants and ways need to be found to give tenants more confidence to report incidents.”
A report on the borough council’s housing strategy until 2024 says that for residents to raise a complaint, they must allow council staff to inspect their property.
This also must involve notifying the landlord themselves.
The borough council says: “The necessity to inform a landlord that an inspection is being carried out on a property can cause concern for some tenants who feel there may be repercussions for the landlord that can ultimately mean they will lose their home.”
This, it says, is a “source of frustration”, with residents tending not to proceed with their complaint, due to it requiring them to let their landlord know.
It says that it has “serious concern” about how many residents are aware that they can complain about the property they rent.
The borough authority says that enforcement powers can lead to prosecution, imposition of civil penalties and ultimately a “banning” order preventing them from being a landlord.
It says that, typically, the council will request repairs to be made to the respective house – which the landlord usually follows through with, making formal prosecution unnecessary.
The council says: “It is hoped that the end of ‘no fault’ evictions, which the government has said it will look at, will give tenants confidence to report issues.”