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Council's £100k crackdown to deal with Bay's worst landlords

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 13, 2012

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A £100,000 CRACKDOWN on the Bay's worst landlords is to be launched.

Torbay's mayor Gordon Oliver has agreed to fund enforcement officers to deal with poor quality housing used by some of the Bay's most vulnerable people.

Many operate in trouble hotspots like Ellacombe, Tormohun and Roundham with Hyde — some of the nation's most deprived areas.

The move has been welcomed by Torbay Labour councillor, Darren Cowell, who has joined residents in a call for a crackdown.

He said: "I hope that we can send the message far and wide that Torbay is no longer a soft touch and to those irresponsible landlords the message has to be loud and clear that if you don't act responsibly we are coming to get you."

Mr Oliver made the pledge at a meeting held on Monday night with police, residents and representatives from Devon Landlords Association.

He has asked council officers to look into how the enforcement can be carried out.

Nick Burleigh, chairman of the Torquay Town Centre Community Partnership said that he has been campaigning for five years against poor housing.

He had recently helped campaigners who set up a provocative website called Tor Shame.

Mr Burleigh said: "This is great news for local communities who have been blighted by anti social behaviour and poor housing. However, we are being cautiously optimistic because we have yet to see what will happen next."

Insp Adrian Leisk has welcomed the move.

He said that poor housing leads to a spiral of crime and anti-social behaviour.

He said: "Rogue landlords are a significant problem in Torbay. There are a few areas where a few landlords are exploiting vulnerable and chaotic people."

He said that community officers would support enforcement by collecting intelligence and provide evidence gathering support.

Peter Lewis, Chairman of the Devon Landlord Association said he heard of the meeting 'by chance' and was keen to find out more.

But he said it was important that enforcement was part of a wider package.

He said that his organisation is by invite-only and it would be happy to offer training for poor landlords and tenants to break the 'cycle of deprivation'.

Cllr Steve Darling, leader of the Lib-Dem opposition said: "The news is very welcome but it is frustrating that it has taken the mayor five months to do what he was asked to do. By now we could have had the officers in post and getting on with the job."

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