Over the past four weeks, landlords who oversee 325 dwellings in 51 properties across the Bay were targeted in the latest rogue landlord operation.

Operation Vector, which involved officers from Torbay Council, Police, Fire and Rescue Service and the Home Office Immigration Service, was put in place to ensure landlords are providing appropriate standards to protect residents from poor and unsafe living conditions.

18 properties have been closed down as a result of the recent operation until they can show improvements. Seven individuals were cautioned due to suspected Housing Act 2004 contraventions and one individual was arrested for an immigration related offence. Eight other immigration cases are also being reviewed.

Criminal activity was identified at two properties and three potential building regulation control contraventions were identified and are being investigated.

Evidence was also gathered to indicate Housing Benefit fraudulent claims, estimated to be worth £30,000 per annum. These claims were stopped and are currently being investigated.

This operation was made possible following the successes of an ongoing programme created originally with a £100,000 investment from Torbay Council and funding from Central Government.

A Torbay Council spokesperson said: “The majority of landlords operating in Torbay manage safe and good quality accommodation for our residents. There are however landlords who continue to disregard the law, providing poor quality, and in some cases, unsafe accommodation in our area. This directly exposes our residents and communities to harm, and can also encourage crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.

“We are delighted that by working in partnership with other agencies we have been able to target our resources and take action to ensure that landlords are operating legally. This operation is another example of our dedication to ridding Torbay of Rogue Landlords and builds on the work completed by us in 2015, which we received national recognition.”

Group Commander Ian Lacey from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services, said “We are pleased to have been involved in this activity to help reduce the risk of harm to local people which can be caused by unsafe and poor quality accommodation. The benefits of working together mean that we are able to use an even greater number of legal powers to take direct action to radically drive up standards of private rented accommodation, significantly reduce the risk of fire related deaths and take legal action against landlords when appropriate.”

The work which focused on mainly larger properties of multiple occupation will be followed up with further inspections over the coming months to ensure that improvements have been made. Those properties that have been the subject of immediate action may face prosecution.

For further information on the work Torbay Council do around Housing Standards and advice for Landlords please visit: www.torbay.gov.uk/housing

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