'All we hear about is slum landlords' - councils plan targeted campaign

Philip Rivers is a landlord of two properties in Felixstowe

Landlord of two Felixstowe properties, Philip Rivers, stressed the importance of complying to regulations to keep tenants safe - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Neil Perry

A Felixstowe landlord has spoken up about keeping his relationship with his tenants fair, as a Suffolk campaign targeting "landlords who don't care" is launched. 

Nearly £250,000 has been allocated to Suffolk's councils to increase engagement with landlords who aren't complying with minimum energy performance ratings. 

The money will support innovative measures including local radio ads, roadshows and workshops with landlords to raise awareness of the rules surrounding rental properties. 

Free property surveys will also be offered, as well as enhanced and targeted mail reminders and translation services to reach those not currently complying with regulations.

Since April last year, privately rented homes must meet a rating of Band E on their Energy Performance Certificate. 

But the landlord of two Felixstowe properties, Philip Rivers said that he didn't want to be thought of in the same category as the 'slum landlords' that aren't compliant with regulations. 

He said: "I have two one-bedroom flats in Felixstowe that are occupied by long-term tenants and I want them to be happy and stay in their home as long as they want to. 

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"One did need pointing in the right direction regarding ventilation and mould; a lot of mould is caused by condensation from poor heating or poor air circulation. It's important to heat properly and ventilate. 

"But I keep the rents fair and the increases low. These are entry level properties and I understand the financial constraints of some people.  

"This relationship with my tenants has led to them keeping the places spotless and clean, to the point I have just returned their deposits as I felt it unfair for people on the lower end of the income scale to have this money sitting in a bank somewhere. 

"Both my properties have had energy rating certificates issued by my agent, but I have recently taken over the management personally and hold these myself.  

"Yes, sometimes the regulations can be annoying - the expense of five-year electrical safety inspections was one example. But this keeps the tenant safe and as landlords we have a responsibility to do this - it's all tax deductible anyway. 

"All we ever hear about is 'slum landlords' and, yes, I looked at some terrible hovels when I was searching for property but I just didn't want to be part of that." 

Speaking about the launch of the council campaign, councillor Andy Drummond, chair of the Suffolk Environment Cabinet Members group, said: "I'm delighted we have been awarded this funding, it will develop our existing work of targeting landlords who do not care that their properties are cold and damp. This makes for unpleasant and unhealthy conditions for their tenants. 

"The project's messages will focus on the law, the climate emergency and the help available to improve poor performing properties. Our councils will continue to work closely together, combining education with enforcement, appropriately and consistently."