Crime Reduction

20.04.18

Councils should be able to confiscate criminal landlords’ properties, MPs say

Local councils should be empowered to confiscate properties belonging to criminal landlords who exploit vulnerable tenants, MPs said today.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee said today in a new report that vulnerable tenants need greater protection from landlords who unreasonably increase rent, harass them and evict them in retaliation.

Although recent legislation has increased protection for tenants, the committee said councils still lack the resources and powers to fully enforce their responsibilities.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East and chair of the HCLG Committee, said: “Local authorities need the power to levy more substantial fines against landlords and in the case of the most serious offenders, ultimately be able to confiscate their properties.

“Such powers are however meaningless if they are not enforced and at the same time councils need more resources to carry out effective prosecutions.

“Stronger powers, harsher fines and a new commitment to cracking down on unscrupulous practices will go some way towards rebalancing the sector and protecting the many thousands of vulnerable residents who have been abused and harassed by a landlord.”

The report called for councils to publish their enforcement plans online, introduce new ways of informing landlords and tenants of their rights, and for a new fund to be set up to support local authorities.

Top image c: credit Tommy Lee Walker

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