A brains trust of housing experts is to meet next week to explore ways of improving the private housing sector in South Tyneside.
Latest figures reveal there are 6,700 privately rented properties in the borough, making up 10% of total housing stock.
We’ll discuss how the council can improve standardsCoun Nancy Maxwell
A scrutiny commission has been launched by South Tyneside Council to take an in-depth look at the issue of private rented housing and to ensure it can meet future housing need and maintain high standards for borough tenants.
The commission will continue its work on Tuesday at a meeting of the council’s Place Select Committee with an overview of the current private rented sector market and trends, including demand and quality of accommodation, as well as what powers the council has when standards are not met and problems occur within the sector.
Among those invited to address the commission over the coming weeks are Colin Campbell, a private social landlord and chairman of the borough’s Landlords Association, in addition to estate agent representatives and local letting agents.
Also contributing to the debate will be Ian Thompson, chief executive officer with South Tyneside’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Brian Scott, secretary of the borough’s Housing Ventures Trust.
Councillor Nancy Maxwell, committee chairman, said: “Private sector housing represents a huge proportion of the housing currently provided across the borough. The sector is growing therefore it is becoming increasingly important that it plays a positive role in the borough’s overall housing strategy.
“While most private landlords provide a good quality service for their tenants, there are some who do not provide such good standards.
“Tuesday’s meeting will give the commission an insight into the current market and standards in the sector and the chance to discuss how the council can help to ensure good standards are maintained.”
Coun Maxwell emphasised that the majority of landlords in South Tyneside are “reputable, responsible and provide well-maintained, safe homes for their tenants.”
She added: “As this sector grows it is important to ensure it plays a positive part in our overall housing strategy, and to consider what more the council can do to help improve standards.”
Mr Campbell has welcomed the fact that landlords will have an input into the process, saying: “In the past when they have developed commissions on housing we have not been invited to contribute.”
The next meeting of the Place Select Committee takes place on Tuesday from 10am, at Jarrow Town Hall.