By Eric King-
Councils across the Uk will receive extra cash to crackdown on rogue landlords thanks to a new £2 million fund, Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP has announced .
Whilst the majority of landlords provide decent homes for their tenants, a small minority continue to break the law and offer inadequate or unsafe housing – including to young families and others who are vulnerable to exploitation.
Councils will be able to bid for funding to step up enforcement action against irresponsible landlords who make tenants’ lives a misery, and to develop and test innovative ways to clamp down on squalid accommodation. Landlords who rent out squalid accommodation are numerous, but make up a minority of the wider pool of landlords. Many subject their tenants to unacceptable conditions, forcing them to live in inadequate homes for inflated rent charges.
Extra cash with councils will enable them to take the necessary steps to effectively monitor landlords and compel them to act promptly to address issues. In cases where costs of repair outstrips immediately available funds of a landlords, councils can put the required cash out of available funds to speed up required work in neglected properties, and bill the landlord in question for it.
Today’s news builds on government action to drive up standards in the private rented sector – ensuring millions of hard-working tenants get the homes they deserve and creating a housing market that works for everyone.
Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler, MP 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.
Local authorities already have strong powers to require landlords to make necessary improvements to a property and can use a range of measures, including fines and banning orders, to tackle rogue landlords.
The new funding will be used to support a range of projects that councils have said will help them to ramp up action against criminal landlords – for example, to build relationships with external organisations such as the emergency services, legal services and local housing advocates.
Councils may also decide to support tenants to take action against poor standards through rent repayment orders, or develop digital solutions, helping officers to report back and make decisions quicker.
The money will also be used to encourage councils to share best practice of enforcement action and examples of innovative approaches that are self-sustaining and can be easily adapted to other parts of the country.