Blackpool's £1m boost to crack down on bad landlords

Blackpool has received nearly £1m of government funding to crack down on unscrupulous private landlords who fail to provide vulnerable tenants with good quality housing.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Friday, 5th August 2022, 11:11 am

The money will be used on enforcement to ensure people living in supported housing get the assistance they need.

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Minister's pledge to improve housing during visit to Blackpool

Some landlords have been collecting higher levels of housing benefit meant to pay for care, without providing the expected assistance.

Minister Eddie Hughes during his visit to Blackpool

But in future they could face having their properties closed down, or even be prosecuted if they fail to meet the criteria.

Blackpool Council will receive £987,000 from a total of £6m being shared between it and Birmingham, Blackburn-with-Darwin and Hull from the government’s £20m Supported Housing Improvement Programme.

It follows a £700,000 pilot study in the resort where in the poorest areas 85 per cent of residents depend on housing benefit to pay their rent.

Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes, who visited Blackpool in June, said: “While there are many excellent supported housing providers in the market, we know there are a minority that are shamelessly taking advantage of vulnerable residents, and we are committed to ending this practice."

Supported housing provides accommodation alongside care, support, or supervision to help people who have been homelessness, or suffered mental health issues or domestic abuse turn their lives around.

The funding will enable the council to use enforcement measures such as inspections, to improve quality and value for money in the provision of supported housing by landlords.

Councils have the power to issue penalty charge notices, prohibition orders that could stop part or all of the building being used, and to prosecute where poor accommodation standards risk the health and safety of residents.

Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We have developed clear pathways for providers that enables them to understand what is needed in Blackpool and enables the development of schemes in the right place for the right people, delivering value for money for the public purse.

“We are unapologetic about offering not only support but challenge to the market to make sure the supported housing schemes in Blackpool deliver great outcomes."

During his visit to Blackpool, Mr Hughes visited housing projects including William Lyons House on Exchange Street, Elm House on Derby Road and properties on Springfield Road and Queen Street.