Glasgow City Council given new powers to tackle rogue landlords
The local authority had sought permission from the Scottish Government for four blocks in Govanhill bordered by Calder Street, Annette Street, Dixon Avenue and Westmoreland Street to be designated as an EEA under Section 28 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, which came into effect in June.
The ruling means that landlords of tenements in the area could be compelled to submit to a criminal record check, produce a buildings insurance policy, and provide safety certificates.
Other powers under the EEA will be a right of entry to rented properties where there have been complaints about the way they are being managed.
This will allow council officers to gauge the scale of any problem and initiate enforcement action against the landlord where necessary.
Bailie Liz Cameron, the council’s executive member for economic development, said the EEA agreement with the Scottish Government would help drive forward improvements in Govanhill.
“The new powers will help us identify the scale of the housing problems being faced by residents,” she said.
“Having the right of entry to properties that are the subject of complaints means we can now resolve the issues by taking corrective action.
“We now have far more tools in the box to tackle those who fail to live up to their responsibilities and drag the area down.”
Annie Macfarlane, vice chairperson of Govanhill Housing Association and a local resident, welcomed the move as “an important step forward”.
She said: “As a resident in South-West Govanhill, I am well aware that some people in the area endure appalling living conditions, often due to rogue landlords.
“The Association worked closely with Glasgow City Council to support its submission. EEA status is an essential part of the toolkit needed to address these problems as it will provide the council with additional powers to enter and inspect rented properties, deal with overcrowding, carry out works and take action against landlords if necessary.
“The EEA designation will complement the work the Association is carrying out in the area, including the South-West Govanhill Property Acquisition and Repair Programme, a two-year pilot announced earlier this year. The purpose of the programme is to buy, repair, let and then manage up to 80 properties from private owners and landlords in the four tenement blocks that have been designated an EEA. We will also take on factoring where we have majority ownership.
“The aims are to provide better living conditions and tackle overcrowding in the area, while also helping to deliver a more effective system of property management and maintenance. It is likely that a more comprehensive approach will be needed in the future if a sustainable solution is to be delivered.
Ms Macfarlane added: “As a community controlled and owned organisation, we are determined to play our part in improving the homes and lives of people in the whole of Govanhill. We believe in local people leading the way and we continue to work with tenants, residents and landlords to promote a responsible approach to property maintenance and management.”