Local authorities should be given the power to confiscate properties from landlords who break the law, according to a committee of MPs.
In a new report, the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee calls for vulnerable tenants to be given greater protection from rent hikes, harassment and retaliatory evictions.
Although the committee accepted that recent legislation has strengthened protection for tenants, it calls for local authorities to be handed more resources to undertake their enforcement duties.
“Local authorities need the power to levy more substantial fines against landlords and in the case of the most serious offenders, ultimately be able to confiscate their properties,” said Clive Betts, chair of the HCLG Committee.
The HCLG committee said fresh funds should be made available to enable local authorities to undertake informal enforcement activities. It also wants to see local authorities publish their enforcement strategies online.
Betts added: “Stronger powers, harsher fines and a new commitment to cracking down on unscrupulous practices will go some way towards rebalancing the sector and protecting the many thousands of vulnerable residents who have been abused and harassed by a landlord.”