I would like to respond to the article about ‘Borough’s Toll of Repossessions’ in the Dorset Echo of August 19, both as a private landlord and a borough councillor.
In the borough a very large proportion of our rented accommodation belongs to private landlords, the majority of whom are landlords who own one or two properties and maintain them to a high standard. Like anywhere we also have landlords who are not so good.
Fortunately we do not usually have rogue landlords of the type frequently experienced in large towns who own large numbers of substandard housing and who run them by threatening and intimidating tenants.
The council does have the power to clamp down on these landlords when reported.
As a councillor, people come to me for help on a number of housing issues.
When there is the potential for people to fall behind with either rent or mortgages or their query involves a landlord asking tenants to leave, my advice to them is to talk to Housing Solutions at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
The council offers advice and assistance and can often provide solutions to residents so that they can remain in their own home.
The council has a role in preventing homelessness but can only act while the resident is still in their property.
Where unaffordability is the issue they work with CAB, Shelter and other agencies, and in exceptional circumstances can direct them towards funding to help with mortgage arrears.
If the problem is a potential eviction by a landlord they can help find alternative accommodation and in certain situations may be able to provide assistance with rent deposits.
However, what is not commonly appreciated is that if someone gives up their tenancy or moves out of their home without formal legal processes having been exhausted, they may be considered to have made themselves voluntarily home-less, which would then limit the council’s options to provide support.
Therefore, my advice to residents would be, if you have a problem, don’t leave it, talk to the council or the CAB and certainly don’t move out of your home until you have taken advice. Cllr Gill Taylor Lib Dem Group Leader – Weymouth and Portland Borough Council