The city will use nearly £200,000 of funding from the Controlling Migration Fund to step up enforcement action against landlords that exploit vulnerable migrants.
Part of the council’s Private Housing Services, the Rogue Landlord Unit (RLU) works to ensure that tenants are made aware of their rights and that their homes are safe to live in and well-managed.
The team also targets organisations and agents to enforce property standards and takes action against illegal eviction and serious harassment of tenants, as well as dealing with private housing trading standards offences.
Recent cases successfully pursued by the RLU include a Bristol trader fined and ordered to pay council costs amounting to more than £6,800 for falsely claiming to be a registered Gas Safe engineer.
A Southmead landlord was fined and ordered to pay council costs and compensation of more than £1,800 after pleading guilty to harassment at a property he owned on the same street. The RLU are currently preparing a number of further enforcement cases.
One of 123 projects across England to be granted funding, the RLU will also work with community groups and Bristol Mediation to help tenants remedy their rights without going to court and are developing a social media campaign to raise the profile of their work.
The Controlling Migration Fund was announced in November 2016 to support local areas facing pressures linked to recent immigration. More than £100 million has been earmarked for specific projects to date. The fund also helps with initiatives such as helping new arrivals learn English or supporting care leavers to access education.
Councillor Paul Smith, the Cabinet member for Housing, said: “Our Rogue Landlord Unit continues to carry out hugely important work in Bristol offering extra protection and support for tenants and tackling unlawful practices by landlords and traders and extra funding will help the team expand the scope and priority of their work.
“We are very clear that everyone has a right to a safe and secure home and we hope the cases we have prosecuted so far will continue to send a clear message to rogue landlords and traders that unlawful practices will not be tolerated.’’
To report a rogue landlord operating in Bristol, please visit the council website.