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Inspection blitz on rented Boscombe properties
12:40pm Saturday 14th January 2012 in News
TARGETED inspections of privately-rented accommodation in Boscombe will begin this month in a bid to improve standards.
There are around 1,300 privately-rented properties in central Boscombe, which has been identified as the most deprived area in the south west.
Council officers will work with landlords of all rented accommodation, from bedsits to family homes, to see if improvements are needed and how quickly.
Cllr Robert Lawton, cabinet member for housing, said: “We will be advising landlords about providing their tenants with adequate heating, access to amenities, ensuring the property is well maintained.
“It is not acceptable that some residents are living in properties that are below standard.”
Many of Boscombe’s rented homes are owned by Dave Wells Properties, which recently featured in a Dispatches programme on Channel 4 about allegations of poor housing. The company has welcomed the initiative.
Lisa Northover, who launched a petition calling for an increase in inspections, said: “I’m really pleased the council is taking action. We need proactive inspections, not just reactive ones.
“It doesn’t take long to find homes that are in dire need of improvement.”
Steve Wells, of Dave Wells Properties, said: “We are well aware of these inspections, which are part of Bournemouth council’s work to regenerate Bos-combe and improve standards.
“We’ve had dialogue with Bournemouth council already and this is an initiative that we welcome as we are continually investing in and improving our properties.”
No-one is keener to see high standards in rented properties than 38-year-old Gina Begbie.
Her 64-year-old father Ernest was found dead in his Dave Wells Properties flat in Windham Road, Springbourne on Christmas Day 2010.
An inquest into his death later found that he died of carbon monoxide poisoning. A gas pipe had been ripped off the wall of his flat the prev-ious evening, leaving him with no gas supply.
The landlord did not fix it before Christmas and Ernest borrowed an outdoor patio heater, with fatal results. Dave Wells Properties insisted it had offered him electric heaters.
Gina, pictured with daughter Connie, said: “I’m over the moon to hear that the council is starting housing inspections.
“It’s the best start to the year I could have hoped for.
“My dad’s death has had an absolutely devastating effect on my life. I’ve been unable to sleep, I’ve struggled to work, my relationship ended.”
Steve Wells said at the time he was “shocked and saddened”.
“Had we been notified of the incident the day before we may have been able to arrange an immediate repair, but with a reduced staff over the Christmas break this was not possible,” he said then.
“We offered him safe indoor electric heaters to keep his home warm until our Gas Safe staff could make a permanent repair, but he declined.”