SOUTHEND’S landlords have launched an Echo-backed campaign to clean up eyesore town centre streets and properties.

The South East Essex Alliance of Landlords, known as Seal, formed to make rogue landlords ensure their properties were fit to live in, is behind the Street Blitz campaign which will transform hot spots of neglect in Southend.

Seal hopes to form alliances with other organisations and residents’ associations to target problem areas and clean up litter as well as rubbish-strewn streets and gardens.

The organisation, set up by landlords and letting agents to police privately-rented accommodation in Southend, will go street-to-street to identify problem properties over the coming months.

It has started its campaign with a competition for a banner, designed by young people in local youth clubs. The winner will be chosen within the next week.

Seal, which landlords and agents set up in 2011 in a bid to avoid having to pay Southend Council for licenses to let properties – so called selective licensing – hopes to eventually represent 95 per cent of the rental sector.

It can fine members, whose properties are identified by a sticker in the window, up to £400 if legitimate complaints from tenants or the public are not dealt with.

However, it hopes to work with landlords to spruce up properties by offering practical help and support. Secretary Judith Codarin said: “We have worked out who we are and what we should do over the past year or so and now we are working on our first practical project, going street by street to work out the problems and try, together, to solve them.

“We are finding support from all directions. Some days, I just cannot believe the offers are coming in, money, refurbishment of part of a street by Regis Direct, the support of the Echo, GBN Skip Hire supplying a number of skips free of charge, prizes for the competition, and community funding.

“Each offer is a little miracle egging us on, making it definitely worth all the effort our volunteers and professionals have put in.”

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