A TENANTS' union has said it will "wait and see" if the council delivers on a motion that calls on the council to adopt a "zero tolerance" approach to "rogue landlords".

The motion proposed by the Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council, which passed in a meeting of the housing committee, also calls for a public database of landlords who have been prosecuted.

The union Acorn has heralded the motion as a "victory for renters" after campaigning for the Green administration to do more to protect renters in the city.

A spokesman for the union said: "This is an important step towards tackling the renting crisis in Brighton, where half of renters have faced illegal activity from landlords.

"We have been demanding action on this issue from the Green councillors for over a year who have treated the issue with a concerning lack of seriousness and urgency.

"They had only last month told us this wasn’t possible so we are pleased our members were able to once again force them into another U-turn.

"Over the past year the Greens have gone back on various commitments to renters, so we will wait and see if they actually follow through with this."

It comes after it emerged that the council has only prosecuted three landlords over the last decade.

Acorn said they found the figures "concerning but not surprising", and claimed "it's no wonder landlords act illegally so often as they know they won't face any consequences from the council, who have their fingers in their ears when it comes to renters' issues".

Lead councillor for the private rented sector Martin Osbourne said: "We are very sympathetic to the concerns Acorn has expressed about the private rented sector and are grateful for their active participation in helping bring about improvements.

"Unfortunately, some of the plans we had in place to increase our enforcement activity recently were severely delayed by the pandemic.

"However, this year we are investing nearly £200,000 to recruit additional staff to our housing enforcement team.

"We work hard to resolve issues that are raised with us informally, following national enforcement guidelines, but we will not hesitate to prosecute in instances where landlords don't respond to improvement orders we have issued, and we want to do more on this."

Cllr Osbourne also said the council is looking into helping create an ethical lettings agency for the city.

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