Local authorities to receive greater powers to deal with rogue landlords

Councils will be handed new powers to crack down on rogue landlords who rent overcrowded or sub-standard properties.

Housing and planning minister Alok Sharma, announced the measures – still subject to parliamentary clearance – which will mean landlords renting homes occupied by 5 or more people from more than 1 separate household will now need to be licensed.

The move is part of the government’s efforts to crack down on poor landlords and improve the quality of living for renters.

It will affect around 160,000 homes in England, allowing authorities to take action against such landlords in a new way.

In addition, the DCLG has put forward details of the criminal offences which will now automatically ban someone from being a landlord. Crimes including stalking and burglary will see people added to a database of rogue landlords and be subsequently barred from renting any properties.

“Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home,” Sharma explained as he announced the new policy.

“But far too many are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes.”

He went on to say that landlords should “shape up or ship out” of the business now that councils are able to deal with the problem more comprehensively.

These latest measures build on recent government action to drive up safety and standards in the private rented sector following its admission that the market was “broken” at the beginning of last year.

This includes bringing in fines of up to £30,000 for rogue landlords, protections for tenants from revenge evictions and £12m funding for councils to take enforcement action in hotspot areas.

New rules will also come into force setting minimum size requirements for bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation to prevent overcrowding.

As part of the licencing requirements, local councils will be able to make sure only rooms meeting the standard are used for sleeping.

Work on implementing the new policy has been going on for over a year, with the government initially consulting on plans to ban rogue landlords as far back as 2016.


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