Labour Councillor, Darren Cowell, has condemned Torbay’s Mayor for kicking a report about rogue landlords in to the long grass.
Cllr Cowell said, “The report, which called for immediate and targeted enforcement against the worst cases of rogue landlords, was a golden opportunity for the Mayor to send a clear signal that sub standard private accommodation will not be tolerated.
“Instead what we have is dither and delay while a further review and consultation is undertaken. I am certain that if he needed to find £60,000 for a pet project or for tourism he would have done so.
“But here we have a demonstrated need to lift some of our Bay residents out of squalid conditions and he chooses to ask for a further review. It is a matter of political priorities and clear understanding. This decision shows how out of touch he is with ordinary people in Torbay.
“No one is asking me to support his pie in the sky plans for a third harbour, but they are demanding action on the terrible conditions imposed upon some private tenants.
“This sends out the wrong message that Torbay is a place bad landlords can flout the law. It also discredits the vast majority of decent private landlords who take care of their tenants and properties.”
“His decision suggests that a compulsory registration scheme is implemented. When I questioned him about this, pointing out that it is no good without enforcement, he suggested we can offer a grant to a non-council body to administer. That is passing the buck!”
“He blames previous administrations for not taking action on their watch and yet it has taken the campaign that I and other councillors alongside our community and a report from the Overview and Scrutiny Board to stimulate any debate on the matter.
“If the Mayor was serious about the conditions of private and social landlords, why has he not done something about it in his first year in office?
“I am happy that a further review is carried out in to the social sector as there are indeed problems there. But his insistence that some of these housing groups aren’t located in Torbay bears little weight as some of the worst offending private landlords do not live in the Bay.
“I would urge Mayor Oliver to seize the initiative NOW. It is in your power to find the resources to ensure the worst landlords are forced to live up to their responsibilities while further consideration is given to the social sector.”Other news from Torbay Labour