Project to improve standards in Dundee’s private rented sector

John Alexander
John Alexander

A new project which would work with private landlords to improve standards could be launched in Dundee later this year.

Shelter Scotland has secured grant funding from the Oak Foundation for work to promote higher standards in Dundee’s “vibrant” private rented sector through an outreach project based in Dundee City Council.

John Alexander, convener of the council’s housing committee, said: “The grant will fund a post in the housing department to work with landlords, tenants and intermediaries on better understanding of the sector and what would improve day to day practice by landlords.

“Shelter is keen to work with us because the city has a vibrant private rented sector and our Private Sector Services Unit has developed good working relationship with landlords.

“The unit registers private landlords to make sure that they are ‘fit and proper’ to be letting residential property which protects tenants and their neighbours from the impact of antisocial behaviour and mismanaged property.

“Staff from the unit also work closely with landlords, running regular seminars on areas of interest and providing other help and guidance on issues like repairs and maintenance.”

According to a report by Elaine Zwirlein, the council’s director of housing, the focus would be on landlords who are not operating to best practice guidelines but who are not causing enough concern to justify enforcement action. The project would offer an additional informal way for the council to improve standards.

If the committee backs the plan when it meets on April 27, a private renting support officer would work alongside the council, industry bodies and local housing agencies to offer support to landlords to improve practice and to create a good practice toolkit.

Work would start in October and run for two and a half years with the Private Renting Support officer engaging with private landlords, developing improvement plans, capturing and evaluating current experience and working in partnership.

The post would be fully funded by Shelter.

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