Reader’s letter: Armley public meeting will discuss rented housing standards

denison Hall armley
Venue: Denison Hall, on Armley Town Street. Photo: Mat Dale

On Wednesday 24 August, ACORN Leeds will be hosting a public meeting where the people of Leeds can have their voices heard on the matter of renting within our city.

The council executive has been invited to hear what the residents of this city have to say on the matter, providing an opportunity for them to hear the opinions and experiences of people who are having to deal with skyrocketing rents and dodgy landlords in return for ill-maintained, substandard housing.

Almost every person we talk to who has any experience of renting has a bad story to share, too often these experiences go unheard and the issues renters deal with on a daily basis go unresolved. With the increasing impact of the cost of living crisis, the Renters’ forum is an opportunity for normal working people of Leeds to have their voices heard and demand change and for Leeds city council to meaningfully demonstrate that they are paying attention.

The event is part of the ACORN Leeds campaign to ban slum landlords within our city through the expansion of the existing selective landlord licensing (SLL) scheme to more areas of the city, which gives local authorities the powers to introduce standards on the condition of the properties in the private rental sector.

SLL enables local authorities to enforce and prosecute those landlords who fall below basic standards. It is comparable to the licensing of taxis or the hospitality industry. Our argument being: Why shouldn’t this be the case for people’s homes where they live? Landlords pay a license fee which covers the administration and compliance checks of the scheme, failure to meet the conditions of the license can result in a £30,000 fine for the landlord.

An independent review in 2019 for the government on the effectiveness of SLL found the following after implementation:

● It focuses resources on areas of concern whilst simultaneously generating revenue to contribute to the costs involved

● It provides a clearly defined offence (licensed/unlicensed) which simplifies enforcement

● The pro-active inspection approach frequently brings other problems to light

● Licensing provides drives up landlord awareness of their responsibilities

Source: Independent Review of the Use and Effectiveness of Selective Licensing, commission by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 2019.

The ACORN Leeds renters’ forum will be taking place Wednesday 24th August, 7pm, Denison Hall, Town Street, Armley, LS12 3LL.

ACORN is a community based union of working class people – tenants, workers, residents. We are a member-led campaigning organisation supporting & empowering low-income communities to fight for a better life, with over 25 groups and branches across England & Wales.

  • Organiser Dave Aldwinkle


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