Action call on “dilapidated” private rents

Jamie Hepburn MSP
Jamie Hepburn MSP

Cumbernauld’s MP and MSP have teamed up in a bid to get at the truth behind a welter of reports about sub-standard flats in Millcroft and Greenrigg Road – and are asking residents to help.

Stuart McDonald MP and Jamie Hepburn MSP have launched an online survey aimed at finding how many residents share “a range of concerns” about the condition of private rented accommodation in the area, after fielding complaints from residents.

It makes it plain that some residents are concerned about alleged safety hazards, while another main point raised is the “dilapidated appearance” of the area.

The survey seeks to find whether people think public cash should be invested in an scheme where the majority of flats are private-owned rents, and if so who should take this forward.

Jamie Hepburn said: “We have recently written out to a significant number of residents because we are keen to learn their views.”

He says he wants to work out a way to bring improvements to the area, adding: “The majority of these flats are owned by registered private landlords, and the most recent figures we have received indicate that of the 312 flats there are 191 registered private landlords in the blocks, 61 per cent of ownership”.

He says this restricts the ability of the council or any housing association to take action that would bring about improvements.

But the politicians’ survey could raise the profile of a long-running Cumbernauld problem, putting the spotlight on some landlords who are regularly claimed to be failing to keep their properties up to scratch.

However the way the two are able to respond will depend on the data they receive from residents.

Social media comments on the issue cover a wide range of views, with some considering that most landlords do a good job.

In some circumstances councils can inspect private rented property, under changes to the law introduced earlier this year. and can refer landlords to the Private Rented Housing Panel (PHRP), which was set up to resolve differences between tenants and landlords. It’s understood that landlords have had to be forced to make repairs in a substantial majority of cases referred to the PHRP.

North Lanarkshire has a high proportion of people living in private rents, because of social housing shortages which the council and housing associations have been steadily trying to fill.

The politicians’ survey is at https://goo.gl/A6Fw23