“Largest investment for 10 years” to tackle rogue landlords in Sheffield

Written by Charlie Ridler

A Sheffield landlord who left behind used condoms after hosting a party in their tenant’s spare room is one of many testimonies to have helped spark a £1.2m investment in enforcement for the private rented sector.

Sheffield City Council will be making their “largest investment for 10 years” on a new team with powers to inspect private lets, carry out repairs and report on negligent landlords.

This comes after renewed pressure from the union ACORN, who protested outside Sheffield Town Hall last month to demand city-wide landlord licensing.

Will Russ, co-author of the campaign’s policy brief, said: “It just boggles the brain. One tenant came home to find a spare room in the house that wasn’t currently being let out had clearly been used for a party or some sort of gathering by the landlord and his friends.

“There were used ‘jonnies’ in the toilet. They basically just used the spare room in the house as their own personal sesh-room.

“We’re taking on more and more cases, but we can’t fight every landlord forever when the problem is higher up.”

At the council budget meeting last Wednesday, ACORN member Caty Murray called on the council to introduce city-wide legislation.

She said: “We believe that this is a crisis that demands urgent action.

“We’ve seen landlords refusing to repair homes overrun with mould, stealing deposits, serving revenge evictions.”

Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety Paul Wood, claimed there were “lots of issues” with a city-wide scheme, but reasserted the council’s commitment to ensuring high standards across the city.

He said: “The council takes private rented sector landlords and the quality of their housing very, very seriously.

“You will see in the budget later this afternoon the largest investment for ten years in the private rented sector.”

In 2019, ACORN protested against Cllr Wood by placing a damaged kitchen in the Town Hall, originally ripped from a tenant’s house and dumped in their garden, after the councillor said there was “no evidence” a city-wide scheme was needed.

Mr Russ said: “It worked really well, we got a meeting with Paul Wood, he was actually quite supportive of our action, he thought it was quite cool.

“We’re very confident that over the next few months we’re going to be building a really strong thing to get licensing rolled out across the city.”

Written by Charlie Ridler

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