Councils will be able to bid for share of up to £3 million to tackle irresponsible landlords in their area, who allow their tenants to live in unsafe and squalid conditions, putting lives at risk and disrupting local communities.
Cash boost to end exploitation
The minister said that the majority of tenants are happy with their home and the service they receive, but the actions of a few rogue landlords are having a major impact on tenants’ and their neighbours’ lives.
These unscrupulous landlords exploit vulnerable people, with reports suggesting that some work with gangmasters to house illegal migrants. The poor quality, overcrowded and often dangerous accommodation they provide can result in:
- noise problems
- sanitation issues for whole streets
- greater fire risk
- council tax and benefit fraud
- anti-social behaviour such as street drinking
So councils will now be able to bid for this additional funding to boost their capacity to investigate and tackle rogue landlords, ensuring they can make the most of their power to prosecute.
Mr Prisk said the cash on offer today would build on the government’s ongoing success in tackling ‘beds in sheds’. Backed by £2.6 million government funding, more than 500 illegally rented outbuildings and overcrowded homes have been discovered since 2011 and action is now being taken against the owners.
And to help councils match that success, the minister has expanded the role of the ‘beds in sheds’ taskforce to consider the best way to tackle rogue landlords. This cross-government team will support successful councils as they work to take these illegal operators to task.
Mark Prisk said:
The majority of tenants are happy with their home and the service they receive, but there are still a minority of rogue landlords who exploit vulnerable people and force their tenants to live in overcrowded and squalid conditions.
It’s unacceptable that the lives of tenants and their neighbours are made a misery in the name of profit. That’s why today I’m offering councils a share of £3 million to take on the rogue operators in their area.
They will also have the backing of a cross-government taskforce which will address the barriers councils face in tackling this issue, so together we can end the illegal exploitation of vulnerable tenants, and bring a better future to communities across the country.
Notes to editors
The Housing Minister has written to councils today to invite them to bid for the funding.
Local authorities are required to tackle poor property conditions in their area and they have extensive powers to do so. Those powers include being able to:
- require landlords to repair properties that are in a hazardous condition - and prosecute them if they fail to do so
- introduce licensing schemes, and prosecute landlords that fail to obtain a licence or meet their licence conditions
- take over the management of poorly managed licensable properties, and even issue special interim management orders to take over the management of other privately rented properties where the landlord is not tackling anti-social behaviour
For further information on local authority powers to tackle rogue landlords, see: Dealing with rogue landlords: a guide for local authorities.