Yesterday’s announcement that councils in England are going to be handed an additional £2m in government funding to tackle the small minority of landlords who continue to break the law and offer inadequate or unsafe housing has been broadly welcomed by most of those who invest in the private rented sector, but there is a general feeling among some that more needs to be done.
Local authorities already have strong 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.
But now councils can apply for new funding to step up enforcement action against rogue landlords providing substandard accommodation.
Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler, said: “Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital we crackdown 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.”
There are more than 4.5 million households in the private rented sector in England, with official statistics saying that 82% of private renters are satisfied with their accommodation.
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), has welcomed news of fresh funding for enforcement, but believes that it must be part of a “long term and sustainable settlement” that provides the resources needed to “support good landlords and root out the criminals”.
He added: “Poor enforcement of the wide range of powers already available means that the minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute undercut the majority of good landlords and bring misery to the lives of their tenants. This is what the funding needs to tackle.”