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Sixty serious health and safety risks found in Norwich rental homes in one year

PUBLISHED: 06:30 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 16 April 2019

The golden triangle in Norwich. Photo: Denise Bradley

The golden triangle in Norwich. Photo: Denise Bradley

Archant

Sixty serious health and safety risks were found in privately rented homes in Norwich last year, new figures show.

According to the figures, released under a Freedom of Information request by Generation Rent, a campaign group for affordable and quality rented homes, Norwich City Council received 368 complaints over conditions at the properties in 2017/18.

Of those, 46pc - 169 - triggered an inspection by council officers.

And over the course of the year, 60 category one hazards were found - a health and safety risk serious enough that it must be addressed.

They can exclude excess hot or cold, damp, fire risks, pest infestations or risks of falls, and fall into two categories of severity.

And council officers issued 44 improvement notices to landlords during the year, working out as roughly 12pc of the total number of complaints.

A city council spokesperson said: “We triage all complaints and determine how to deal with them based on the severity of the problem and whether or not the tenant has had any success with the landlord.

“We don't have the capacity to visit in every case so usually we will send a tool kit advising tenants how to ask their landlord for improvements and outlining their rights.”

Sometimes, they said, with the tenant's permission, they can contact a landlord without having to visit.

Various factors influence the likelihood of an initial visit, they said, including if there is evidence of a category 1 hazard, if the complaint relates to an unlicensed HMO or if they had experienced previous problems with the property.

Of the 102 local authorities that responded to the request, Norwich had one of the highest proportions of improvement notices issued compared to complaints.

In March last year, it was revealed that the city council's environmental health officers had taken action against landlords for issues including a house divided into flats with no fire alarms or doors, and a property which had water coming out of its electrical sockets.

The city council spokesperson said resources drove the number of visits officers were able to make, but that they encouraged tenants to understand their rights and how to enforce them.

What are your experiences of privately renting in Norwich? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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