In 2010, TV’s Panorama and Dispatches approached Shelter to ask if we had any ideas for films examining the private rented sector.
We provided evidence of local rogue landlords and renters’ stories we’d uncovered to launch our Evict Rogue Landlords campaign.
What followed was the beginning of a journey for Shelter, and for two councils.
Two names – Dave Wells Properties and Tame Estates – featured heavily as notorious rogue landlords who deliberately exploited and harassed their tenants, and rented out properties in an appalling state of repair.
The response to both programmes was overwhelming. Local Bournemouth and Tameside residents took up the baton, speaking out about their own experiences and pressing for change.
Despite the criticism and denial Shelter faced from the councils, we kept up our demand that they tackle their rogue landlord problem. And thanks to pressure from residents, we started to see a tidal change.
- Tame Estates took a lower profile, sold some of their properties and were taking steps to improve.
- Tameside Council also gained a new leader who put housing firmly at the top of the agenda.
- And in October 2012 they signed up to support our Evict Rogue Landlords campaign.
- Dave Wells Properties promised to clean up their act and improve standards.
- The leader of Bournemouth Council pledged to ‘make housing a top priority’.
- And despite rejecting a licensing scheme, the Council spoke publically about enforcement and setting up a tenant helpline.
- In June 2013 they produced a rogue landlords strategy, outlining concrete steps to action. And after emails from residents, Bournemouth Council also signed up to support our campaign.
This will make a huge difference to the lives of people renting in Bournemouth and Tameside . It shows that shining a media spotlight on problem areas, perseverance and local pressure can bring about real change.
What will Shelter do next?
We’re looking forward to seeing the outcomes of the councils’ rogue landlord plans.
We’ll also continue to encourage them to publicise their prosecutions, knowing that this is a sure-fire way to deter other local rogue landlords.
A big thank you to the Councils for joining our campaign – and to our supporters in Bournemouth and Tameside who helped us achieve this win!