26 September 2021
Alan Rice is a volunteer community activist for Weston Housing AcTion assisting tenants in private rent on issues with their landlords including poor conditions and threat of eviction. He will argue that North Somerset Council (NSC) should introduce the licensing of landlords.
Selective licensing of landlords requires all private landlords in a designated area to apply and hold a licence to operate. This has proved very successful in Bristol to improve both the condition of properties and generally lift the area. As Bristol Green councillor Carla Denyer has found in her own Bristol ward: ‘behind the grand front doors there are many untold stories of damp, mould and dangerous living conditions. I have met people who pay extortionate rent yet have daily battles to get their landlord to fix a broken toilet or mend a leaking roof.”
Under the previous Conservative administration, North Somerset Council (NSC) approved the introduction of licensing in 2016 for central Weston (roughly 50% of properties in Central ward are privately rented, roughly one-third of those are considered “non-decent”). But a small group of landlords threatened a judicial review, claiming lack of evidence, and NSC shelved the move to license.
Richard Lawson will introduce his project which is designed to stop carbon-derived energy from being wasted as warmth drifts out of under-insulated homes in North Somerset. Around 10,000 homes are crying out to be properly insulated in North Somerset.
There are a bewildering number of energy conservation schemes available to help people financially to make their homes more energy efficient. Many who are on low incomes could benefit from these schemes, which would mean lower fuel bills and/or warmer homes for the occupants. The schemes can be confusing for householders, whereas Council officers can negotiate these schemes with professional ease.
How can we make the process easier?
Richard will describe an approach that can support householders in negotiating this web of schemes. NSC Council officers and charities are open to the idea of volunteers who might sit down with neighbours and friends and help them to make the most of what is on offer. Maybe you could benefit from such a scheme, both as a volunteer and as someone who can stop your ‘heat going through the roof’?