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Housing Secretary pledges new funding to crackdown on criminal landlords

Friday 03 January 2020

More than 100 councils across England have been awarded a share of over £4 million to crack down on criminal landlords and letting agents with a move to empower councils to stamp out exploitative landlords.

With a small minority of landlords persisting to break the law by offering inadequate or unsafe housing, the new funding will be used to enforce action against these landlords and advise tenants of their housing rights.

Among the councils to benefit from the funding, there will be training of over 100 enforcement offices in 21 councils across Yorkshire and Humberside and a ‘Special Operations Unit’ created in Northampton to enforce against the worst landlords responsible for over 100 homes.

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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 that 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' power to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the PRS for renters across the country."

Robert Jenrick MP

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP 
Housing Secretary

Government announcement

Enforcement

Responding to a consultation in November 2019 on Manchester City Council’s PRS, Propertymark stated there must be a strong and efficient enforcement regime alongside regulation. Councils already have strong powers to force landlords to make necessary improvements to a property through the use of a range of measures, including civil penalties and banning orders for the worst offenders. But statics clearly illustrate, from data provided by Manchester City Council, that laws are passed but not enforced.

Since 2015 there have been 12 prosecutions of landlords by the City Council. In 2018 there were three prosecutions and in 2017 only one. There are not enough resources and enforcement is not a high enough priority for local authorities. We think it is essential that prosecuting bodies are given the power to become revenue generators for local authorities rather than revenue drains. Fines collected by local authorities such as Manchester City Council as a result of housing breaches should be ring-fenced with the money going towards further enforcement.

Read response

Private Rented Sector

The private rented sector continues to expand, with official data putting the net increase in the number of privately renting households in 2017/2018 at 99,000. Nationally, the number of households in the private rented sector has overtaken the number of social renters to be second only to owner-occupiers

The Government’s announcement is demonstrating their commitment to helping good landlords and professional agents to thrive, and hard-working tenants get the homes they deserve. However, there is still a long way to go to stamp out rogue operators and substandard housing.

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Today’s announcement is an important step forward in stopping unscrupulous landlords and letting agents. However, in isolation this is not enough to make a real difference; sustained investment is essential to provide effective enforcement, ensure training for local authority staff, remove criminal operators and protect tenants.  We continue to call on government for mandatory regulation of the sector and an open database of rogue landlords and letting agents which will deliver better housing standards across the country."

David Cox

David Cox
ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive

PROPERTYMARK RESOURCES

ARLA Propertymark members have access to a suite of resources covering the breadth of regulation and challenges that the sector is faced with.

Members area 

Image attribution: "Robert Jenrick Official MP Portrait" used under CC BY 3.0 / Cropped from original