A committee of MPs has recently come together to further discuss the issue of rogue landlords and what prevention methods should be put in place. The latest idea that they have come up with is to permit local authorities to confiscate properties from landlords who break the law.
A new report from the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee calls for greater protection to be provided against the unlawful treatment of tenants. From unreasonable hikes in rent costs, to spiteful evictions, there is certainly a problem within the UK, and measures need to be taken in an attempt to put a stop to it.
There was a general agreement within this committee that the recent changes in legislation have improved the protection available for tenants. However, they also believe that local authorities need to have more resources available to assist with the enforcement of such legislation.
Clive Betts, chair of the HCLG Committee, has commented: “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.”
The HCLG Committee believes that funding should be made available in order to allow local authorities the opportunity to undertake informal enforcement activities. Having local authorities publish their enforcement strategies online is also a progression that the committee would like to see.
Betts also said: “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.”
It is worth considering as well that landlords are not always the only issue. Nightmare tenants can be equally as much of a problem for landlords. Measures can be taken to prevent situations such as rent arrears and the extreme damage of properties, for example the undertaking of thorough background checks. There are also plans for a six weeks cap on security deposits for private rented housing, however the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have suggested extending it to eight weeks. This extra financial assistance to landlords might make all the difference.