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Private housing: Council consulting citizens on rental sector

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Housing in Gleadless Valley. Photo by Wonderflump on Wikimedia Commons.

Sheffield City Council are consulting citizens on a new Private Sector Housing Strategy.

The consultation covers the private rental sector as well as owner-occupied properties. Homes rented from housing associations or the Council are not included in the strategy.

Landlords have faced criticism for the number of low quality or unsafe homes in the city. The Council's online consultation closes on 30 June and takes ten minutes to complete.

Introducing the consultation, the Council said that "some homes, particularly in the private sector (rented and owner occupied), are in need of investment and effective housing management."

We've already told them a bunch of times that landlord licensing is the only meaningful intervention they could make

The consultation may signify a shift in Council policy towards the rental sector. In late May, Cabinet Member Paul Wood told Now Then that he would not be introducing city-wide licensing.

The scheme would require all Sheffield landlords to apply for a license to rent out property.

Since the release of our story, renters' union ACORN have stepped up their campaign for city-wide licensing.

On 7 June, members staged a demonstration in the Town Hall, dumping broken furniture from union member Mahmood's house in the lobby.

ACORN say that Mahmood's landlord sent men to rip up his home, in an attempt to intimidate the family into leaving. This came after the landlord was issued with an improvement notice.

"We've already told them a bunch of times that landlord licensing is the only meaningful intervention they could make," said ACORN on social media, in response to the consultation.

The Council maintain that "in most cases these homes are well managed and maintained and offer an excellent housing choice for Sheffield's residents."

Sam Gregory

The online consultation is open until 30 June.

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ACORN's action in the Town Hall. Photo from ACORN.

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