The UK Government has announced that councils are to get a multimillion cash boost to tackle rogue landlords.
This cash boost of around £5 million will enable local councils more premise to tackle rogue landlords. In particular, the funding will facilitate more frequent raids on properties, more inspections, more statutory notices, more localised surveys, and more demolitions of unregulated and prohibited buildings. This will allow councils to find more ‘beds in sheds’, which have been a persistent problem for their objective to provide a minimum standard of property quality for local tenants across the UK.
‘Beds in sheds’ are properties which are substandard, often unregulated, and usually lived in by vulnerable tenants who have a lack of knowledge of the UK property market together with a lack of funds. The increased budget for councils will hopefully reduce the amount of these squalid and overcrowded properties, whilst also forcing rogue landlords to face legal action.
“Significant progress has already been made…to crack down on rogue landlords”
The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, stated that “significant progress has already been made…to crack down on rogue landlords. We have introduced protection for tenants against retaliatory eviction where they have a legitimate complaint and stopped landlords from serving an open-ended eviction notice at the start of a tenancy”.
In Manchester, the local council has already begun its crackdown on rogue landlords after being handed over £120,000 from central government. The bosses will now have a small team of enforcement officers for a three month operation targeting flats above retail units in the cities most deprived areas. Many of these flats above ships are in poor condition, being sublet from the employers to their workers. In Salford, as much as 16% of the privately rented homes are thought to be below the necessary standard of regulatory statute. Councillor Gena Merrett claimed that “this crackdown will enable us to target the flats and houses in the poorest conditions and hopefully to work with the landlord to bring the property back to a decent standard. If landlords don’t comply with that, they could then face legal action.”
Hopefully this new campaign will see a strong reduction in the numbers of rogue landlords and sub-standard properties throughout the UK. Councils have often been underfunded in their ability to act and enforce breaches of the law, as recently highlighted by the Guardian. In 2015, local councils received 51,916 complaints about poor living conditions and rogue landlords, but only inspected 14,043 homes. However, with a larger budget now available, there is greater potential for the number of inspections to match the number of complaints and, as a result, more of these rogue landlords will face court action for the exploitation of their tenants.
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