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‘Slum landlords will be tackled in Bradford
A crackdown on slum landlords and a battle against fuel poverty are among new measures being considered to improve the district’s housing stock.
Housing chiefs have unveiled a five-year plan in a bid to ensure everyone in Bradford has a home where they can be safe and healthy.
The Housing Federation has previously warned that the district has a dire shortage of affordable homes and the new document, by Bradford Council and the Bradford Housing Partnership, called ‘A Place to Call Home’, sets out aims to build more housing and bring more empty homes back into use.
The strategy looks at housing plans for 2014 to 2019, in an update to previous homelessness and housing strategies which ran from 2008 to 2013.
And it reveals that 25,000 households in Bradford (12 per cent) live in fuel poverty, the highest rate in West Yorkshire.
It says: “For a home to be truly affordable, householders need to be able to maintain and heat their homes effectively.
“Bradford has a higher than average number of homes without central heating, and our legacy of terraced and back-to-back housing means many households struggle to insulate and heat their homes effectively.”
The report says providing insulation and other energy efficiency measures will be critical in helping people reduce their bills and fight fuel poverty.
The document also warns of the risks that many private tenants face because of low-quality housing.
It says about two in every five privately rented properties (41 per cent) has at least one significant hazard, such as a risk of falling on stairs or excessive cold.
In 2012-13, Bradford Council received more than 1,600 inquiries from people who wanted the quality of their housing improved, with the vast majority of these relating to privately rented homes, the report reveals.
In about 700 of these cases, landlords were served with notices requiring them to undertake urgent repair works.
The report says in the future, there could be “proactive enforcement initiatives in areas with a concentration of poor quality housing”.
Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council’s executive member for housing, said: “Our vision for the district is that everyone should have a place to call home which is suitable for their needs.
“We have worked with a range of partners to develop the strategy and are keen to hear the views of residents in the Bradford district and welcome all comments.”
In total, the document sets out four main aims. They are: l Building more homes and bringing empty ones back into use l Making sure properties keep people healthy and safe l Ensuring there are enough affordable homes and that people can afford to heat them l Preventing homelessness and supporting independent living.
People can e-mail their views on the new strategy to housing.strategy @bradford.gov.uk.
The deadline for comments is 5pm on Wednesday, January 15.
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