Extra funding has been won by the City Council to crackdown on rogue landlords and help improve rented housing.

There are 34,000 private rented properties in Sunderland and the sector continues to grow.

A council grant application for £90,000 to improve regulation of private landlords has now been approved by the Government.

It will help develop a smartphone reporting app for tenants and improve monitoring of properties. The new tenant reporting systems are being prepared for later this year.

City Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson said: "The council receives hundreds of reports about privately rented properties per year, where the condition of the property poses a risk to the health and safety of the tenant.

"Most landlords take these duties seriously but a small percentage of privately rented landlords fail and the council is using its powers to tackle this criminal element. These rogue landlords can give the private rented sector a bad name."

The council continues to take enforcement action against landlords. Actions include:
• Legal notices (requiring repair works to properties);
• Court proceedings against those landlords who fail to comply with Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) regulations or to comply with a repair notice or order;
• Civil penalties of up to £30,000 for failing to comply with regulations or repair notices.

Cllr Atkinson added: "Updating our software and systems will allow residents to report issues directly to the council from their smart phones and online."

In June 2019 the council adopted new powers to issue civil penalties, where landlords failed to comply with Improvement Notices or overcrowding notices. These new powers also covered offences where landlords failed to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) or breaching the regulations that deals with safety and management of HMOs.

If a landlord fails to act within a reasonable timescale on a written report of serious disrepair made by a tenant of a privately rented property, tenants are advised to log their concerns with the council by contacting 0191 520 5551.