Councils will receive an extra £2m of funding from the Government to tackle criminal landlords that force tenants to live in substandard housing.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s £2m fund will be made available to councils across the country, which will bid for grants to help them step up enforcement efforts against criminal landlords.
The money will be used on a range of projects to help increase action, including developing digital solutions to help officers report incidents, so that decisions can be made more quickly.
Councils will also be able to use the money to support tenants’ actions against their landlords, through rent repayment orders.
There are currently 4.5m households in the private rental sector in England, with research from the latest English Housing Survey finding that 84% of tenants are satisfied with their accommodation.
The £2m will also be used to build relationships between councils, external legal services and local housing advocates, and encourage councils to share best practice of enforcement action with other local authorities.
The Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler MP, 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.”
David Smith, the Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, also responds to the announcement: “We welcome news of new funding for enforcement, which we have long campaigned for, but believe 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.
“The vast majority of landlords do a good job and provide decent housing for their tenants. That’s why 84% of private tenants are satisfied with their accommodation, a higher proportion than the social rented sector.”
He adds: “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.”