Matthew Smith is a Principal Enforcement Officer in the councilâ€™s Private Rented Services team and works to bring the cityâ€™s empty properties back into use.Â Since April, his team has brought more than 200 properties back into use, meaning more good quality housing in established neighbourhoods, less crime and financial gains for the city.
This week is Private Rented Sector Week, and Matthew is working with colleagues to advise tenants and landlords in Stockland Green, Sparkbrook and Soho – areas with a particularly high private rented sector.
Day 2 began with an overcast sky but with a determined feel to it â€¦â€¦.today we are in Sparkbrook and the PRS rolls into town â€¦â€¦..
Determined to continue the good work from yesterdayâ€¦â€¦.. Determined to help and assist any local resident from the private rented sector, whether theyâ€™d be tenant or landlord either way weâ€™re here to assist.
Day 2 began with a tenant informing the team that she had been given a notice to quit from her landlord and wanted advice about what to do next.Â This was quickly followed by a second explaining that the roof was leaking in her property causing dampness to her bedrooms and asking if we could help.
Of course we can â€¦ cases already beginning to be opened ensuring the landlords would be informed and told what was to be expected from them.
Whilst the rain began to fall it didnâ€™t stem the flow of tenants and landlords again coming on board to share their experiencesâ€¦..first caller after lunch wanted information regarding how to rent within the private sector.Â Advice was given including a â€œguide to renting private propertyâ€ written by the Homestamp consortium.Â The tenant was thankful.
We were joined today by colleagues from Let to Birmingham who were on hand to speak to landlords wishing to find tenants through the service which was well received. Â Advice was also given to the residents regarding the wheelie bin roll out due to begin in this area so it felt todayâ€™s advice was maximising all corners of the rental market .
How quickly the day went again and as a timely reminder of problems that can exist in the PRSÂ the final visitor of the dayÂ come forward to inform us that their locks had been changed by the landlordÂ and so began a potential illegal eviction case there and then â€¦â€¦..
Over the first 2 days we have seen more than 200 people who have come on board the bus to seek either advice or important information to keep them safe.
As the bus drew away into the dusk horizon heading for Soho Ward on Wednesday, I wondered to myself what would be in store tomorrowâ€¦â€¦.. Soho weâ€™re on our way â€¦â€¦.. All aboard!!