Housing minister Heather Wheeler has announced a £2m funding boost for councils to tackle rogue landlords.
The government says that while the majority of landlords provide decent homes for their tenants, a small minority continue to break the law and offer inadequate or unsafe housing, including to young families and others who are vulnerable to exploitation.
The fund will help ramp up action against this minority. Councils will be able to bid for funding to step up enforcement action against irresponsible landlords who make tenants’ lives a misery and to develop and test innovative ways to clamp down on squalid accommodation.
The cash allocation builds on government action to drive up standards in the private rented sector and protect tenants. Local authorities already have powers to require landlords to make necessary improvements to a property and can use a range of measures, including fines and banning orders, to tackle rogue landlords.
Housing minister Heather Wheeler says: “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.”
The new funding will be used to support a range of projects that councils have said will help them to ramp up action against criminal landlords – for example, to build relationships with external organisations such as the emergency services, legal services and local housing advocates.
Councils may also decide to support tenants to take action against poor standards through rent repayment orders, or develop digital solutions, helping officers to report back and make decisions quicker.
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.