A rise in Islanders on the housing register, “cowboy” landlords and “slum” housing are part of a systemic housing problem on the Isle of Wight, Island Councillors have been told.

Social housing and private landlords have been discussed by the Isle of Wight Council’s Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration.

Jamie Brenchley, Housing Needs Service Manager, said the number of people on the housing register increased by 19 per cent, from April 2018 to June 2019. He says that continues to rise:

“What we’re facing is an increased demand for services. We don’t have resource to meet need and we don’t have a suite of options that are diverse enough to meet the individuals and households sent to us that we have a special duty to support.

“We need to start challenging landlords and raising standards or creating new standards that people have to adhere to, to be private landlords. Because a lot of people are cowboys and we in effect place people in unsuitable accommodation that’s unfit for human habitation.”

Ryde East Councillor Michael Lilley slammed the quality of private rented accommodation on offer, saying a lot of it in Ryde was “just slums”:

“They are in appalling state and people are actually rehoused there or are put there and no one is really tackling those landlords.”

Cllr Lilley asked the committee how they could be more forceful on landlords and suggested the possibility of compulsory purchase orders. Chris Ashman, director of regeneration at IW Council, said the challenge was to meet the supply.

Jamie Brenchley praised improvements, including eradicating the number of families exceeding six weeks in B&B accommodation. The Isle of Wight was previously from the tenth highest in the country.

By the Isle of Wight Local Democracy Reporter.