Councils given £2m for crackdown on rogue landlords

Councils are to be given £2m in government funding to tackle “rogue landlords” who break the law by offering inadequate or unsafe housing.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that councils will be able to bid for the funding in a move by the government to “clamp down on squalid accommodation” and the small minority of irresponsible landlords.

The new funding is intended for councils to support projects which will ramp up action taken against criminal landlords, and to support tenants to act against poor standards through rent repayment orders or developing and using digital solutions.

The government’s statement says that some landlords offer inadequate or unsafe housing, including to young families and others who are vulnerable to exploitation.

Heather Wheeler, the housing minister, said: “Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are not giving their tenants this security.

“This funding will help further strengthen councils’ powers to tackle rogue landlords and ensure that poor-quality homes in their area are improved, making the housing market fairer for everyone.”

Councils will be encouraged to share best practice of enforcement action and examples of innovative approaches which can be easily adapted to other parts of the country.

There are more than 4.5 million households in the private rented sector in England, with official statistics saying that 82% of private renters are satisfied with their accommodation.

The government identified the most common issues with tackling poor housing standards for councils to address with the funding, including the need for better information on housing stock and landlords in their area and for data sharing between authorities and agencies.

It also recommends developing innovative software for enforcement officers to record findings and streamline the enforcement process, and for the improvements to housing-specific legal expertise and in-house communication.

Earlier this year, Alok Sharma announced new powers to be given to councils to deal with landlords who rent overcrowded or sub-standard properties as part of a central government crackdown on rogue landlords.

Under new laws announced in March, local authorities could give those in breach of regulations fines as high as £30,000.

Image credit - Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/PA Images

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