Matthew Smith is a Principal Enforcement Officer in the councilâ€™s Private Rented Services (PRS) 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 has been working with colleagues to advise tenants and landlords in Stockland Green, Sparkbrook and Soho – areas with a particularly high private rented sector.
â€œRaindrops are falling on my head” is in my mind as the third and final day begins.Â We have landed in Soho ward today ..bring it on.
What’s been great about today, as with the first 2 days, is that no sooner had we opened then our first tenant arrived â€¦. unsurprisingly with damp condition throughout her house â€¦ letting agent not carrying out essential maintenance.
Other similar reports of disrepair issues are heard as the morningâ€™s rain turns to brighter skies.Â Wonderfully receptive residents accept an invitation to discuss PRS issues at their next meeting. This has been the theme of the 3 days.Â Itâ€™s great to share advice with tenants and landlords alike, face to face…
The final visitor leaves shortly before 3.30 as the door closes on what’s been a really great 3 days.Â We’ve met many wonderful and in many cases vulnerable people who are seeking advice and assistance to ensure standards are met by their landlords.Â Notwithstanding this itâ€™s also been refreshing to receive visits from landlords wishing to keep up to speed with legislation and the new immigration “right to rent” laws.
At the last count it appears we’ve spoken to about 350 residents over the three days and as the bus finally revs up and moves on -I can honestly say its exceeded my own expectations of how many people have “come on boardâ€ with us “Ding Ding….”
If you didnâ€™t climb on board the bus but need advice on any aspect of renting and living in the private rented sector call 0121 303 5070, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit birmingham.gov.uk/privatetenants
For further information about the Empty Properties Team call 0121 303 7978 or email email@example.com