Some members may have seen the brief item at the bottom of the Streetwise column in The News on 16th June, thanking the PDPLA for our comments and signposting readers either to PCC Private Sector Housing Standards or the PDPLA. Whilst it was positive PR for us, it was still a small and somewhat reluctant correction to the original misleading comments.
Read our full response here:
Letter sent on 10th June:
"In yesterday"s Streetwise you responded to a question about a correspondent"s landlord. Whilst I fully understand the issues of conflicting evidence that you comment upon, I"d like to help clarify the situation relating to your comment: "Unlike public sector housing, the private sector is almost devoid of regulation. It follows that bad landlords are not legally answerable for the Dickensian conditions they expect their tenants to endure."
I feel this is unnecessarily negative considering there are over 4,000 private landlords in the city, the vast majority of whom are keen to ensure their tenants are happy and comfortable in their homes.
Two other clarifications:
I have copied Bruce Lomax, Private Sector Housing Standards Manager at Portsmouth City Council. His team are in place to help ensure that housing in the city is adequate and associated rules (such as the need for proper paperwork, protected deposits, valid gas certificates, etc.) are complied with.
Rogue landlords are a bane on all of our lives and they need to be brought to book. The best way to do this is for us all to raise issues with problem tenancies with Bruce"s team. If there is an issue, he has professionals skilled in resolving these issues and I know for a fact that they have a good record of bringing the 'bad guys" to book, not that your paper chooses to report upon it.
You also mentioned that 'naming and shaming" bad landlords is a no-go area. We have similar problems with bad tenants and although the current Housing Bill has tried to introduce regulations that will allow local authorities to name and shame bad landlords, unfortunately there seems little appetite to do the same with bad tenants - many of whom make living nearby a hellish experience and who damage property and drag down the streets they live in with rubbish and the like.
I"d add that it would be good advice for all of your readers when choosing a rental property to restrict their search to landlords accredited with the local authority or one of the national bodies (RLA & NLA) and also, look for members of the PDPLA as all of our members comply with our code of conduct (see http://www.pdpla.com/pdpla-news/about-pdpla for details)
I know your role is to champion the oppressed and resolve problems that your readers find unsolvable, so it is easy to assume the worst and to naturally fight the corner of the underdog, but a little education through your column of both landlords and tenants rather than comments about 'Dickensian conditions" is likely to achieve far more good for everyone in the city than you probably realise."
Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.