THE work of Kirklees Council’s tenancy relations officers was highlighted in a BBC Radio 4 programme – “Policing the Landlords” which was broadcast today.
An increasing number of people live in private rented homes and it is the job of the tenancy relations officers to protect them from rogue landlords.
In the last 12 months Kirklees Council has dealt with 270 serious complaints where landlords have threatened and harassed people or actually carried out illegal evictions.
A council spokesman said that most of the landlords in the Kirklees area are reputable and manage their properties in a professional way but when they don’t, tenants and their belongings can end up on the street.
Some landlords are not aware of, or do not understand, the legal rights of their tenants and once the tenancy relations officers get involved the landlords are shown the courses of action that they can, and cannot, take.
In the worst cases the council can get tenants back into their homes by changing locks or using legal powers to prosecute.
Clr Liz Smaje, Kirklees Cabinet member for Leisure and Neighbourhoods, said: “Not all councils have tenancy relations officers. In Kirklees we work to protect the rights of private tenants and landlords. We work jointly with the police to make sure that the law isn’t broken, but when it is we can, and do, prosecute.”
She added: “At the same time we encourage good practice amongst landlords and have 200 landlords in our Accreditation Scheme which is growing all the time.”