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Councils Given Government Funding to Tackle Rogue Landlords

100 councils across England have been given a share of a £4m pot of cash, to help them tackle issues brought by rogue landlords in their boroughs. Some of this money will be invested in new technology, such as smartphone apps.

“It’s completely unacceptable that a minority of unscrupulous landlords continue to break the law and provide homes which fall short of the standards we rightly expect,” says Robert Jenrick, Housing Secretary. “The funding announced today will strengthen councils’ powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector for renters across the country.”

Unscrupulous Landlords Breaking the Law

Areas where rogue landlords are a problem will be prioritised. These include Yorkshire and Humberside, Northampton, Thurrock, and Greenwich in London. Some councils plan to use the money to train more enforcement officers and create special units to catch the worst offenders. Greenwich council is trialling new smart home technology that identifies the coldest homes, which will allow them to identify landlords who are falling foul of the Fitness for Habitation act.

Funding Welcomed by Councils

Whilst the funding has been welcomed by cash-strapped councils, critics say it’s nowhere near enough to tackle the problem. The RLA says the government needs to provide funding every year so councils can plan ahead and develop effective strategies to deal with rogue landlords. It adds that there needs to be enough political motivation to enforce the law against bad landlords rather than target good landlords with red tape and licencing schemes.

Labour’s shadow housing secretary is not impressed with the announcement, describing the fund as “puny”.

Rogue Landlord Crackdown

The government is determined to crack down on rogue landlords. Last year, it announced plans to shake up the buy to let sector. So far, proposals have included opening up the rogue landlord database to allow tenants to use it to search for landlords and a shakeup of Section 21 notices.

Unfortunately, the landlord database hasn’t been very effective so far. Only 12 rogue landlords have been included on the database, despite an estimated 10,500 operating in the UK, and only a handful have been prosecuted by local authorities.

Although it’s clear the government is keen to remove rogue landlords from the buy to let sector, there is still a lot of work to do to make it a reality.

Do you know any rogue landlords operating in your area? Tell us more. You can join the discussion on Facebook. Twitter or leave a comment below.

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