Rogue landlords

Local Authorities are looking to crack down on rogue landlords. It is reported that a cash injection of £5million will be distributed amongst 48 local councils in order to tackle the growing situation of negligent landlords, who are letting their properties to tenants that are living in dangerous conditions.

Local Authorities have long been trying to reduce the number of rogue landlords. Some London Councils have sought to tackle rogue landlords by the introduction of the Private Rented Licencing Scheme in 2014. The Scheme requires all landlords or their agents to make an application for a private rented landlord licence from the Council and have the property undergo an inspection. However, in January 2016 the Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis announced the Government will now be providing local councils with more firepower in order to exercise greater control of the private landlord sector.

The new funding by the government is not the only factor being introduced to better regulate the private landlord sector, the new Housing and Planning Bill (soon to be passed) will introduce a host of new rules and regulations within the private landlord sector and provide better protection for privately rented tenants.

As the private rented sector is growing, it has been reported that the local authorities are finding difficulties in bringing the Rogue Landlords to justice. The Housing Minister reported that over 3,000 individual landlords are currently facing enforcement action and prosecution. Since 2013, over 40,000 household inspections have been carried out by the local authorities to ensure that tenants are living in appropriate, suitable conditions. These figures are set to increase following the announcement of the Housing and Planning Bill.

Housing Minister Brendan Lewis believes the Rogue Landlords are the ones to blame for allowing illegal immigrants to ‘cram’ into their dangerously, overcrowded homes, as the landlords themselves do not care as long as they are receiving their monthly income. It has been reported that these Rogue Landlords are covertly converting sheds, garages and other unsafe buildings to house vulnerable, newly-arrived low-paid foreign workers.

The “Right to Rent” policy, introduced from the 1 February 2016 required all landlords to carry out detailed checks upon the tenants before renting the property, these who fail to do so face a fine for each illegal immigrant they rent to. The Housing Minister singled out the East London area, in particular East Ham, Forest Gate and Newham for the housing of illegal immigrants by rogue landlords.

The imminent Housing and Planning Bill will include measures the local authorities will take to tackle and ban the rogue operators. These measures will include the ability of the local authorities to issue penalty notices to landlords of up to £30,000 who fail to take action on overcrowding and hazardous conditions. Further reports also suggest local authorities will create and store a database of banned rogue landlords.

The landscape of the private rental sector is undergoing a significant change. All private landlords will need to understand and be up to date with the latest regulations and legislation.

If you would like any more information in relation to this article then please feel free to contact me via email: ozan.zorba@bowlinglaw.co.uk.

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