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Parliament considers giving councils new powers to punish ‘unscrupulous’ rogue landlords

Councils could receive tough new powers to punish rogue landlords, with measures set to go in front of Parliament today.

Under the new laws, those found in breach of overcrowding and living conditions regulations would be subject to fines as high as £30,000, levied directly by local authorities.

It comes as part of a central government crackdown on rogue landlords, first introduced in January, which will affect around 160,000 in England, and includes banning orders for the worst offenders.

The new standards will apply to all landlords seeking new licences, those who own existing properties will be given up to 18 months to make necessary changes when re-applying for a licence after it has expired.

Parliamentary under-secretary for housing and homelessness, Heather Wheeler, said the plans would hit back at “unscrupulous landlords” who exploit tenants by renting out “cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties.”

“Today’s measures will mean landlords must provide adequate space for their tenants or face a hefty fine,” she said.

“It is part of a raft of new powers for councils to crack down on rogue landlords and comprehensive action we are taking to improve conditions for private tenants.”

The rules will also allow councils to set 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.

Today’s news also follows separate legislation being passed in April 2017 that would see rogue landlords fined up to £30,000 for malpractice, including failing to fix problems that could cause tenants health problems, harassing or using violence against tenants or illegally evicting people from their home.

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