In the last 12 months Hambleton District Council has served legal orders prohibiting the use of two flats within the district due to poor housing standards.

Within one flat, the bedroom and living room had sleeping facilities for eight people within cramped confined conditions. Whilst in another flat the tenant was living and sleeping in a useable space of approximately 4.05sq metres.

Both flats which were above commercial premises were poorly insulated, had no fixed heating and tenants were using their own portable heating. In addition failures in fire safety and poor escape provision from the buildings were also identified.

“It is very unusual for us to serve prohibition orders,” said Paul Staines, Acting Director of Leisure and Environment.

“We will first try to work with the landlord to bring the property up to a safe standard. However the conditions found within these properties meant it was unsafe for the tenants to stay in them until improvement works had been done.

“Both properties are now undergoing building and refurbishment works.

“There is already a lack of affordable housing within the district and as rent levels increase there is a concern that more landlords will try and utilise unsuitable and poor quality property to let. We would urge tenants living in poor conditions or landlords wanting to know what standards to meet to ring the district council Residential Services team on 01609 767138 who will provide free confidential and impartial advice.”

The private rented sector has recently seen rapid growth and is now the second largest tenure 19% (4.3 million) of households in England after home ownership. Increased demands on the sector have opened it up to exploitation by rogue landlords which the government is trying to address under the New Housing and Planning Act 2016 to ensure the way housing is managed is fair and fit for the future.