MHCLG allocates £2m fund to further crackdown on rogue landlords
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler has announced plans for a to be given to local authorities to tackle rogue landlords.
The announcement continues the latest drive from the Government to further regulate the private rented sector or, according to the Governments latest slogan, “create a housing market that works for everyone”.
According to the press release, the new funding will be used to support a range of projects that councils have identified to help ramp up action against criminals in the private rented sector, such as build relationships with external organisations like the emergency services, legal services and local housing advocates.
Local authorities (LAs) will also have powers to support tenants to take action against poor standards through rent repayment orders or “develop digital solutions” to make the decision-making process more efficient for officers.
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.
According to the department is particularly interested in unlocking best practice in the following areas which LAs highlight:
- The need for better intelligence on housing stock and on landlords and agents operating in their respective areas
- Data sharing between different authorities and agencies. Identifying and bringing together different datasets to enable better targeting of enforcement tools at properties
- Internal ‘ways of working’ issues, such as a lack of housing-specific legal expertise, poor in-house communication (eg between teams such as PRS housing, homelessness, tenancy relations and trading standards), and a lack of tools and strategies to effectively implement policy
- Innovative software. Feedback from the recent PRS LA road shows highlighted LA interest in an app that could be used by enforcement officers when inspecting a property to record their findings, gather evidence and streamline the enforcement process.
Speaking on the announcement of the new fund, 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.
Commenting on the fund, Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said:
“Providing £2 million towards enforcement is a welcome start, but it’s little more than a drop in the ocean. Local authorities need far more substantial and consistent resourcing to be able to enforce properly in the PRS and rid the sector of the criminals operating within it.”