I noted recently that the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, is suggesting that a national register be set up, available for us all to scrutinise, of landlords of domestic premises where lettings occur.
I think we have all read of such properties where living conditions are far from ideal and indeed many requirements laid down by local authorities are not being observed. Many such properties are multi-occupancy lettings which bring their own further problems.
The introduction of a register as suggested would be a major undertaking. But no doubt many of us would like to see this idea expanded further to make a listing available covering the external condition of these properties, and not just for accommodation but all lettings.
The overall look of towns such as ours is let down by properties where the landlord cares little for how we all view what he or she has responsibility for.
I wrote in an earlier article that if anyone in town had concern over the condition of a property they should make their complaint known to those that may be able to get the matter dealt with.
Molly Mason has contacted me having followed my suggestion, only for her then to be told that the property in question was privately owned and, therefore, nothing could be done.
While I was putting this article together it got me thinking back to the days of Madge Lunn and her shop. For those that will not remember dear Madge, she owned and ran a wool and dress shop in Station Street many years ago.
She was a pretty astute businesswoman and, amongst other things, she ran a blacklist of customers’ names who owed her money and were slow to pay. This list was posted in the shop window, together with the amount owed against each name.
I doubt if such a list would be legally acceptable these days but Madge’s certainly did the trick for getting slow payers to stump up.
Getting back to Molly, she was concerned about the external appearance of a property that stands at the entrance to the Pightle. This house has historical importance for Swaffham and it has certainly seen better days.
Unfortunately, the worst elevation looks directly towards the Market Place and also faces directly into the much-used Pightle with its foot traffic.
No doubt, looking around town, there are many other properties that could be on this list should it exist, a list that should be prominently displayed for all to see.
Naming and shaming might just improve things here and there should the landlord have any sort of thoughts for us all and our town. Madge would certainly approve of such action and perhaps we should too.