The borough council is doing good work tackling rogue landlords thanks in part to some extra Government funding we have received, which is why we will be making a bid for two further years funding for this important work.
I recently attended and addressed a conference at the House of Commons attended by MPs and other East Midlands council leaders and there was support for this work to continue.
Many in the Boston area in the private sector are good landlords who, while we appreciate they let property as a business, do care about their tenants and pay heed to what the law requires. They have nothing to worry about.
Those who are rogue landlords will receive a visit from our enforcement team, and they certainly do have something to worry about. The main thrust of our work is to ensure that tenants are living in accommodation which is suitable and meets current safety and hygiene standards.
We are now dealing with quite a number of cases where there are concerns about levels between floors, fire risks, unsafe electrical systems, unsuitable kitchen conditions and general hygiene and safety issues. We are also looking at overcrowding and, in the case of licensable homes of multiple occupation (HMOs) that all licence conditions are being met.
With the level of private rented accommodation we have in Boston this all takes extra time, manpower and money, which is why it is important that we continue to receive extra funding from Central Government.
There have been some success stories. One landlord with a significant portfolio of properties has turned his over to a management company so that a programme of improvement works can be introduced.
In other cases some quite shocking living conditions have been rectified – some very poor kitchens manifesting all sorts of health, hygiene and safety risks, have been brought bang-up to standard, helping make life so much more bearable for those who live there.
No one can fail to have been impressed at the rate at which such a large structure as the new school in Fydell Crescent has taken shape. Literally, in a matter of days a derelict eyesore site has been transformed. Not only has the site been tidied so that issues around rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour have been dealt with, it now has an important new function for this generation and generations to come.
There will be a fantastic trading opportunity for coffee shops, cafés and restaurants when thousands flock to Boston for the annual bike night next Thursday (July 3). There is the potential for up to 2,000-plus people to attend the event, making it one of the year’s biggest in terms of attracting a crowd into the town centre.
They come from all over. I spoke to a couple last year who had ridden from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Many ride here, with pillion passengers, direct from finishing a day’s work, so they arrive hungry and thirsty and with money to spend. They are captive customers.
Last year there was some criticism that there was a lack of choice for refreshment, so this year I am appealing to business owners to stay open and make the most of this opportunity.