Government sets aside £5m to help tackle rogue landlords
The government has set up a £5m to help local councils tackle irresponsible landlords who let out beds in sheds and other accommodation that is unfit for human habitation.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the private rental sector is still afflicted by too many rogues who rent dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties without a thought for the welfare of their tenants.
‘That’s why we are inviting the worst affected councils to apply for extra funding so they can root out the rogue operators. The government is determined to crack down on rogue landlords and this funding, alongside measures in the Housing and Planning Bill, will further strengthen councils’ powers to tackle poor quality privately rented homes.”
Councils will be able to bid for a share of the pot to pay for increased inspections of privately rented property, initiate more enforcement action and demolish sheds and buildings that are prohibited.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark added: “Council-led efforts mean more than 3,000 landlords have faced enforcement action and even prosecution in the last two years. This £5m funding will help them go even further.”
There are more than 4.4 million households renting privately and since 2013 nearly 40,000 inspections have taken place in properties.
Additional measures being put forward in the Housing and Planning Bill include seeking banning orders for the most prolific and serious rogue landlords, issuing penalty notices of up to £5000 for breaches, a new process for abandoned tenancies, which would allow a landlord to recover the home without the need to go to court and creating a database of rogue landlords and letting agents.
Paul Shamplina, founder of pressure group Landlord Action – which has been part of a government think-tank on buy-to-let legislation – believes imposing a minimum square footage per room as a legal requirement will help reduce the number of overcrowded, unsafe properties.
However, he warns it will not prevent sub-letting scams, which are often the lead cause of rabbit hutch rooms, and will require greater enforcement resources to be effective.
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