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14/01/2019

Over £2m to help councils tackle rogue landlords

Words: Laura Edgar
Heather Wheeler / Chris McAndrew

Housing minister Heather Wheeler has announced that more than 50 councils will receive a share of £2.4 million of extra funding to tackle rogue landlords.

Councils will use the money to step up action against the small minority of landlords that flout the law and force vulnerable tenants to live in inadequate or unsafe housing.

Walsall Council is among the authorities to benefit. It will use the money to improve cross-agency enforcement work, including the use of drones and thermal mapping to identify problem properties.

Other regions and councils set to receive a share of the money are Lancaster, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Wheeler said: “Everyone has the right to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital that we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are not giving their tenants this security.

“This extra funding will further boost councils’ ability to root out rogue landlords and ensure that poor-quality homes in the area are improved, making the housing market fairer for everyone.”

The funding will be used to support projects that councils says will help them to ramp up action against criminal landlords, such as building relationships with external organisations, including the emergency services, legal services and local housing advocates. Councils can also support tenants to take action against poor standards through rent repayment orders, or develop digital solutions, helping officers to report back and make decisions quicker.

Councils that receive funding will be encouraged to share best practice to help improve enforcement in other areas.

Judith Blake, housing spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “Councils want to support a good quality local private rented offer in their communities, but can be held back by significant funding pressures and uncertainty. It is therefore good that the government has announced a funding boost for councils to help ensure the small minority of rogue landlords improve standards.

“We ask that the government now follows this announcement by granting more freedom for councils to establish local licensing schemes.”

Image credit | Chirs McAndrew

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