Fresh funding for local councils in England to tackle unscrupulous landlords has been made available, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said councils will be permitted to bid for a slice of the new funding to step up action against landlords who break the law.
The government acknowledged that the vast majority of landlords provide quality homes for their tenants, but said it was necessary to stop a small minority from providing tenants with inadequate accommodation.
Potential measures that can be taken against rogue landlords include fines and banning orders.
Jenrick commented: “It is unacceptable that a small minority of unscrupulous landlords appear to be breaking the law and providing homes which fall short of the standards that tenants rightly expect.”
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said the funding is coming from its existing budget.
This is the second year that the MHCLG has provided funding, with more than £2m having been shared among 56 projects last year.
These funds reached 100 councils which together are home to over a million households living in the private rented sector.
Jenrick added: “Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure, and the funding announced today will help to further strengthen councils’ powers to crack down on criminal landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector.”
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has described the new funding announced by the government to tackle criminal landlords as a step in the right direction’, but adds that it is nowhere near enough to properly find and root out the crooks.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA, commented: “We welcome the government’s focus on rooting out criminal landlords.
“For too long the debate has been driven by ideological calls for more regulation of the sector. What is needed is better enforcement of the powers already available to root out the minority who bring the sector into disrepute.
“That said, today’s funding is simply not enough to achieve this.
“Rather than throwing odd bits of cash around, the government needs to provide proper, multi-year funding to councils to enable them to plan and prepare clear strategies to find the crooks whilst supporting good landlords.
“This includes ensuring enough funding is in place to recruit sufficient numbers of well-trained enforcement officers.”