October 26th, 2016

Buy-to-let concerns spark action in city street

Updated: 4:38 pm, May 07, 2015

BUY-TO-LETS are ripping the heart out of the community, according to a new group set up to fight them.

Coventry Action for Neighbourhoods (CAN) called on the council to cap the number of rented homes and introduce stricter measures for landlords.

The group – made up of residents’ associations – is set to meet with councillors next month.

One Stoke family claimed one-in-fives homes in their street was now buy-to-let.

Barbara and George Moore – homeowners in Marlborough Road since the 1970s – claimed its appearance and community-feel had worsened in the past few years.

“We used to have neighbours who loved and cared for each other,” Barbara told the Observer.

“We’re not against students – we’ve always been on good terms with them – but for some landlords there seems to be an attitude of minimum outlay for maximum gain.

“It has left me angry and frustrated that lovely old homes are put in the hands of people who don’t care about them.”

She added: “We want to see action to protect areas that are under pressure from houses in multiple occupation.

“It’s happening elsewhere in the country but Coventry seems to be very reluctant to take action.”

The number of homes being privately rented in the city jumped to 20 per cent by 2011.

Coun Kevin Maton, who chairs the city’s planning committee, admitted communities had been hit but said it would be unfair to penalise people who couldn’t get on the housing ladder.

“We can’t make people stay where they are,” he told us.

“There’s also the fact a lot of single people can’t get on the housing ladder. Renting is their only option and they are valued members of our community too.

“The council’s point of view is that it’s a bit Canute-like to say ‘we’ll stop the tide of privately rented accommodation’.”

He added there were powers the council could use to help clean up messy front gardens caused by buy-to-let properties but that it must be at nil cost to the authority.

Coun Maton met with CAN in April, where he heard from one man who claimed his daughter had been forced to miss school because of sleep deprivation caused by noisy students living next door.

Group chair Mike Torbe added: “We want the council to understand our feelings about the kind of Coventry we want to live in, now and in the future.

“We want to live in balanced, sustainable communities with a good mix of housing.”

An open meeting is set to be held with councillors at Council House from 6.30pm on Wednesday, June 4.

George and Barbara Moore said their street’s community feel was disappearing because of buy-to-let properties. (s)

A number of homes in Marlbourough Road are rented out. 18.014.012.cov.jm1