Government steps up fight against unscrupulous landlords
The government has announced a series of new measures to crack down on bad practices, stamp out overcrowding and improve standards for those renting in the private sector.
One of the main changes is that landlords renting properties in England occupied by “5 or more people from 2 or more separate households” will need to be licensed. This proposal will need to get parliamentary clearance.
If it gets the go-ahead, it will affect about 160,000 houses and will mean councils can take further action to crack down on unscrupulous landlords renting sub-standard and overcrowded homes.
The government has also set out details of criminal offences that will automatically ban someone from being a landlord. From April, a person convicted of offences such as burglary and stalking can be added to the database of rogue landlords and be barred from renting properties.
These latest measures build on government action already in place to drive up safety and standards in the private rented sector. This includes bringing in fines of up to £30,000 for landlords who fail to comply, protections for tenants from revenge evictions and £12m funding for councils to take enforcement action in hotspot areas.
Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said: “Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home. But far too many are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes.
“Enough is enough and so I’m putting these rogue landlords on notice - shape up or ship out of the rental business. Through a raft of new powers, we are giving councils the further tools they need to crack down on these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good.
“The move will also benefit wider communities fed up with living near shoddily maintained properties without proper bins, dumped rubbish and anti-social behaviour. Landlords will be held responsible for making sure the council’s rules on refuse and recycling are followed.”
New rules will also come into force setting 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.
We shall keep clients informed of developments.
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