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Councils to get £4m to tackle rogue landlords and letting agents

Posted: 12th February 2020   In: Commercial Property

The government has reinforced its commitment to protecting tenants in the private rental sector by awarding councils a total of £4 million to crack down on criminal landlords and letting agents.

The new funding will be shared by more than 100 councils across England, enabling them to take enforcement action against offenders and advise tenants of their housing rights. If the measures prove successful, it’s likely that similar grants will be made available in the rest of the country.

Ministers say most landlords provide decent homes, but a small minority persist in breaking the law, making tenants’ lives a misery by offering inadequate or unsafe housing. 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “It’s completely unacceptable that a minority of unscrupulous landlords continue to break the law and provide homes which fall short of the standards we rightly expect.

“Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure. The funding will strengthen councils’ powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector for renters across the country.”

Councils already have strong powers to force landlords to make necessary improvements to a property through use of a range of measures, including civil penalties and banning orders for the worst offenders. 

The grants will support a range of projects to enable councils to make the best use of these powers.

This will include trialling innovative ideas, sharing best practice and targeted enforcement where some landlords shirk their responsibilities. 

The government has also committed to end no fault evictions, so that landlords can’t remove tenants without good reason, and introduce Lifetime Rental Deposits so renters don’t have to save up for a new deposit while their money is tied up in an old one.

There are more than 4.5 million households in the private rented sector in England, with recent statistics showing that 82% of private renters are satisfied with their accommodation.

Please contact Jonathan Carr if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of commercial property law.