Clearing out the house: funding awarded to combat criminal landlords

angry landlord and tenants
© iStock/JackF

The Housing Secretary has awarded councils across England a share of £4m to combat criminal landlords and letting agents

Over 100 councils have received a share of the funding, which will empower them to eradicate exploitative landlords and allow good landlords to thrive in the market. The funding builds on action already taken by the government to increase the standards in the rental housing market.

There are over 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. However, that leaves 18% of private renters unhappy with their accommodation so there is room for improvement across the rental sector.

Most landlords provide decent homes for their occupants, but there is a small minority that do break the law by offering inadequate or unsafe housing, making tenants lives miserable. The new funding will allow councils to take out enforcement action against these landlords and it allows the council to spend more time advising clients of their housing rights.

Over the last few years, the government has been working hard to stamp out various issues within the private rented sector. This funding will allow councils to stop criminal practices once and for all and create a fairer market for renters.

Some councils that will receive the funding have special plans in place to help combat these illegal landlords.

For example, 21 councils around Yorkshire and Humberside will be able to train over 100 enforcement officers that will allow more men on the ground to ensure standards are being met.

Additionally, Northampton council is preparing to create a ‘Special Operations Unit’ to enforce against the very worst criminal landlords which rent out over 100 homes across the town. Thurrock council are investing their funding into care services, by ensuring that the most vulnerable young tenants live in decent, well-maintained homes.

Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick, MP said: “This government will deliver a better deal for renters. 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 – making lives difficult for hard-working tenants who just want to get on with their lives

“Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure, and the funding announced today will strengthen councils’ powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector for renters across the country. 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 we know landlords shirk their responsibilities.

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