March 28, 2013 2 Comments
I am cynical about the efficacy of self regulation. I cannot see it working in many circumstances. The Press have singularly failed to effectively police themselves over the years, and I do not see Southend-on-Sea’s landlords doing much better.
For all its faults I wanted selective licensing approved. Instead we have SEAL. I have been promised a review after a year by Cllr Lesley Salter, and I intend a reminder if it is needed.
I can give an example of how SEAL fails.
There is a flat owner who shares a garden boundary with the upstairs neighbour. The resident upstairs are tenants of an absentee landlord. The fence that separates the gardens belongs to upstairs, and is in some state of disrepair – to the point where it is dangerous to young children. The neighbour’s garden is also very overgrown.
The flat owner contacts the letting agents with a view to having the fence repaired or replaced – no response. Contact is attempted again, and the outcome remains the same. This is attempted over a number of months. The absentee landlord ignores all communications (but does not ignore the rent coming in from his tenant). Eventually the flat owner contacts SEAL. The absentee landlord is not a member, and nothing can be done.
The flat owner will either have to seek the legal route, or fix the fence themself. Not a satisfactory outcome at all.