The government is to invest £2.4 million in a crackdown on rogue landlords.
The cash will be shared by 50 councils nationwide to help them to take action against irresponsible landlords who make their tenants’ life a misery.
Local councils will now be able to step up their actions against a small number of landlords who flout the law by forcing vulnerable tenants like families with young children to live in accommodation which is inadequate or unsafe.
In addition, the Greater London Authority and Greater Manchester Combined Authority have been allocated £330,000 to finance a co-ordinated attack on landlords who operate across multiple local authorities in their regions.
Safe and secure
Announcing the funding, Housing minister Heather Wheeler said: “Everyone has the right 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 extra funding will further boost councils’ ability to root out rogue landlords and ensure that poor-quality homes in the area are improved, making the housing market fairer for everyone.”
The government has already armed local authorities with a range of powers to tackle ‘criminal landlords’ with penalties ranging from fines to outright bans for the worst offenders.
The new cash will fund a series of projects that the authorities have said will help them to take even stronger action, including building relationships with external organisations like the emergency services, legal services and housing advocates.
They might also support tenants to take action through rent repayment orders forcing landlords who have flouted the rules to repay up to 12 months of rent, housing benefit or Universal Credit.
Another option is the development of digital solutions which will help officers to report back and make decisions faster.
A housing ministry statement said: “The fund will help councils to take on the most common challenges that stand in the way of tackling poor standards in the private rented sector, including:
- The need for better information – on housing stock and on landlords and agents operating in their areas
- Data sharing between authorities and agencies – identifying and bringing together different data sets to enable better enforcement targeting
- Internal ‘ways of working’ – improving housing-specific legal expertise, in-house communication between teams, and tools and strategies to effectively implement policy
- Innovative software – for enforcement officers to record their findings, gather evidence and streamline the enforcement process.