Published: 15:47, 09 April 2021
| Updated: 15:54, 09 April 2021
Serious safety hazards have been found in nearly 3,000 homes in Dartford.
Problems such as risks related to fire, asbestos and radiation were identified in 2,908 privately-rented properties - 7% of the borough's private rentals.
The issues can cause serious health complications, such as lung cancer, burns and even death.
Dartford Borough Council commissioned the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to assist with gathering intelligence on the condition of thousands of houses in the borough, with a particular emphasis on private rents.
The findings were published in a report which was discussed by a virtual panel of Dartford councillors this week.
Cllr David Mote (Con), Dartford council's housing cabinet member, said he was "surprised" about safety risks found in less deprived areas across the borough.
Speaking at the council's strategic housing board meeting, he said: "It is fascinating that hazards in the private-rented sector are found in wards like Newtown, Longfield, New Barn, Southfleet and Swanscombe.
"One might have thought Newtown and Swanscombe, but I am surprised by the others. It could well be these are older properties."
The local authority has vowed to create a private sector action plan to address the problems. A new report will go to full council later this year.
It was suggested that more elderly residents are located in these areas, who can be affected by fuel poverty. This refers to a household left with an income that is below the official poverty line.
Residents have been urged to report any concerns about their homes to the local authority.
Jackie Pye, Dartford council's housing policy and development manager, told the property board: "We only know about a hazard if it is reported to us."
Other hazards can include cladding on high-rise residential buildings, highlighted after 72 people were killed in the London Grenfell Tower fire more than four years ago.
Last month, Dartford council's Conservative cabinet approved a £1million budget for fire safety upgrades, such as early warning sensors, to council homes lived in by a total of 450 elderly and vulnerable residents aged over 55.