A SMALL number of ‘rogue landlords’ are giving Bournemouth and Poole councils ‘continued cause for concern’, an investigation has revealed.

Research by Shelter found that more than 1,100 complaints about private landlords were made to Bournemouth and Poole councils between 2008/9 and 2011/12.

And in response to Shelter’s Freedom of Information request, the Borough of Poole also revealed there were two un-named private landlords giving continued cause for concern, while Bournemouth Borough Council said it had concerns over ‘fewer than six’.

Despite 540 complaints being made to Bournemouth council between 2008/9 and 2011/12 and 612 to Poole in the same period, there were no successful prosecutions by either council.

But Bournemouth did take ‘pre-enforcement action’, such as issuing written or verbal warnings to landlords in 595 cases last year.

In 528 cases, this action resolved the matter.

Poole took similar action in just 174 cases, resolving the matter in 144 instances.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Despite the significant increase in complaints, we believe that the number of rogue landlords in the south west is still underestimated.

“Some local authorities don’t keep records of complaints and tenants often hold back from complaining out of fear of the consequences or because they don’t believe their voices will be heard, even though such a high proportion of complaints is about life-threatening issues.

“Every day at Shelter we see the devastating impact these landlords have on people’s health and wellbeing.”

Cllr Rob Lawton, Bournemouth’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We want to make sure that people have decent, acceptable accommodation and we’ve now got a free hotline for people who feel intimidated or afraid of their landlord.

“The majority of landlords want to try and better their image and are aware that things could be better. I really do think that things are improving.”