The government has handed councils £2 million in a bid to crackdown on rogue landlords across the country.
As a result, local authorities can now bid for extra funds to improve enforcement action against irresponsible landlords in their areas.
The government is using the money to encourage new ways of targeting landlords who make their tenant’s lives a misery and to develop innovative ways to reduce squalid accommodation levels.
In addition, the government says it wants to drive up standards in the country’s private rental sector to ensure millions of ‘hard-working tenants get homes they deserve.’
The housing minister Heather Wheeler said: “Everybody deserves to live in a home that is secure and safe and it’s important we crackdown on a small minority of those who do not give their tenants that security.
‘Funding will help strengthen council powers in tackling rogue landlords’
“The funding will strengthen council powers in tackling rogue landlords and ensuring poor quality homes are improved and make housing fairer for all.”
While councils have strong powers already to demand that landlords make necessary property improvements, they also have other measures including banning orders and fines to tackle rogue landlords.
The new cash fund will help pay for a range of projects that councils say will help them ramp up their actions against criminal landlords, including building relationships with external organisations, including the emergency services and local housing advocates.
Councils can also bid for financial support to help those tenants wanting to take legal action against their poor home standards through rent repayment orders or helping council officers to report issues using digital solutions so decisions can be made quicker.
The government’s fund will also lead to the sharing of best practice when it comes to enforcement and innovative approaches that are self-sustaining will be shared so they can be adapted elsewhere in the country.
‘Vast majority of landlords are responsible’
The Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, Cllr Judith Blake, said: “The vast majority of landlords are responsible and offer decent housing for tenants.
“However, the reputation of the majority is being tarnished by a small minority of landlords who are exploiting loopholes and have no regard to their responsibilities.”
She added that councils want to support quality private rented homes in their communities but have been held back by funding pressures.
Cllr Blake also urged the government to give councils more freedom in establishing local landlord licensing schemes to help monitor and control the activities of rogue landlords.
The National Landlords’ Association (NLA) says that the government’s proposals require more funding and better coordination between local authorities to be successful.
The NLA’s local policy officer, Gavin Dick, added: “While councils taking measures on enforcement is welcome, there’s a significant amount of criminality that affects both tenants and landlords and these measures need to go further to be effective.”