£1.2m project to tackle rogue Blackpool landlords

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Work to put an end to poor housing in Blackpool’s inner areas is set to begin this March with a £1.2m injection of cash from the government’s Levelling Up fund.

The council will recruit a new enforcement team to inspect private rented properties in the town’s most deprived areas, using full legislative powers to drive up standards where accommodation has fallen into decay.

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Powers will also be used to combat rogue landlords who neglect their properties.

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The project is aimed at improving housing in BlackpoolThe project is aimed at improving housing in Blackpool
The project is aimed at improving housing in Blackpool

It is hoped inspections will begin in March and will initially focus on the central area of the town.

It comes after Blackpool was chosen by the government in March last year as one of 20 English areas to receive the same kind of regeneration which transformed King’s Cross in London.

Discussions to launch the scheme stalled last summer but are now back on track.

Levelling Up minister Michael Gove has said the plans which are part of a national drive to improve housing standards would transform derelict areas and provide better quality homes.

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The DLUHC (Departmen for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) will provide up to £1,230,000 for the enforcement work, with further capital funding expected to support housing regeneration in Blackpool.

A council report says driving up standards in the private rented sector “is the number one public policy challenge for Blackpool Council”.

It adds: “Regulatory reform in the private rented sector (PRS) is something Blackpool Council has been lobbying for for many years.”

The council believes the current safety rating system for the sector “is far too low a bar and both creates and compounds some of the atrocious property conditions and associated impacts on health endemic in Blackpool.”

A raft of measures will include

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Creating a team of enforcement staff dedicated to legal support, and tenancy related support for more vulnerable tenants. Undertaking a comprehensive inspection programme across the inner area, starting in the central neighbourhoods. Using all aspects of existing legislation. Working with DLUHC to evaluate what works, and what doesn’t. Working with landlords around future change and using the findings as part of the housing regeneration phase of the pilot project. Conducting a full stock survey of the inner area towards the end of the pilot.