More than 100 serious faults in rental accommodation have been found in the first eight months of a new licensing scheme.
Scarborough Council introduced mandatory licensing for all landlords who have rented properties in Castle and Central wards last year.
So far, 315 licences have been awarded and 230 dwellings inspected to see if they meet with conditions under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
In these inspections 143 category 1 hazards were identified. These are the most serious type of hazards and are deemed to present a risk to the health and safety of tenants, and include such matters as issues around fire safety, electrical problems, excess cold and damp and risk presented from falling from heights.
A further 595 lower-level issues were also found for matters such as missing documents and general disrepair issues.
One of the main failings of the properties inspected was inadequate fire safety provisions and electrical wiring.
An example of this was a property in Queens Terrace which had been divided into four flats.
The report notes: “This property looked in poor condition from the outside but no complaints had ever been received from tenants. An application was eventually received from the landlord and an inspection arranged.
“Upon inspection, numerous hazards were found throughout the property including inadequate heating and poor layout. The top floor flat was found to be very poorly arranged with a means of escape through the kitchen.
“Other hazards were found in this flat, lack of heating, leaking roof and concerns regarding the electrical system were such that it was determined to serve a Prohibition Notice on the flat preventing its occupation until the hazards had been remedied.”
Cllr Bill Chatt, Scarborough Council’s cabinet member for housing, said he believes that worse may be to come.
He said: “It is our intention to inspect every property within the designated area within 12 months. The next phase of the scheme will be focused on identifying landlords operating within the area without a licence. We predict that these remaining landlords are likely to be providing poorer quality accommodation.
" It is important to note that renting out properties within the designated area without a licence is a criminal offence. The council will not hesitate to prosecute landlords operating without licences.
“Landlords who are found guilty are subject to a criminal record and a fine of up to £20,000 from the magistrates’ court.”