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People living in a notorious block of privately-owned flats have been offered help and support by Portsmouth City Council.

Windsor House, in Canal Walk, hit the headlines last week because of the shocking conditions tenants have been enduring.

A council team visited the flats last Friday and spoke to as many tenants as possible. Visits and inspections are continuing. And today, a letter was hand-delivered to all 39 flats, offering the council’s help.

The letter tells residents the steps the council is taking to help them, including:

  • continuing to visit properties
  • creating a special council team to help residents – especially those at risk or who are vulnerable – to move if they wish
  • helping those who want to stay to address problems with their landlord

The council will also explain the situation to leaseholders.

The council reserves the right to take further action, including improvement notices. That will require it to check all flats to see the situation for every resident.

Cllr Darren Sanders, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness, said: “Windsor House isn’t a council property, so we have to work within legal limits. But we’re doing everything we can to help tenants who have been living in these awful conditions. We want to get to the bottom of those, but these are helpful first steps.”

The council can issue notices to private landlords telling them to make repairs by a certain date. If necessary it can get the work done itself and recover the cost from the landlord or owner. In some cases it can prohibit the use of a property.