THE Government’s offer of nearly £4 million to help councils crack down on criminal landlords is “nowhere near enough” says a trade body for the private rented sector.
While the money is welcome, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) said that better enforcement of councils’ existing powers is needed if rogues are to be driven out of the sector.
“We welcome the Government’s focus on rooting out criminal landlords,” said the RLA’s policy director, David Smith. “For too long the debate has been driven by ideological calls for more regulation of the sector. What is needed is better enforcement of the powers already available to root out the minority who bring the sector into disrepute. That said, [this] funding is simply not enough to achieve this.”
The latest funding was announced yesterday by housing secretary, Robert Jenrick MP as part of a crackdown on rogue landlords. The money is intended to help councils “step up” enforcement action against landlords that “break the law” and provide “inadequate service” to their tenants, according to the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG).
This is the second year the Government has offered this kind of funding. Last year over £2 million was shared between 56 projects – this reached 100 councils which together are home to over a million households living in the private rented sector.
“It’s unacceptable that a small minority of unscrupulous landlords appear to be breaking the law and providing homes which fall short of the standards that tenants rightly expect,” said Jenrick.
“Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure, and the funding announced today will help to further strengthen councils’ powers to crack down on criminal landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector.”
MHCLG said the councils have been given “strong powers” to force landlords to make necessary improvements to a property, with a range of measures including fines and banning orders to tackle rogue landlords.
It claims this latest funding will helps councils to make the most of these powers.
The RLA, however, is not entirely convinced. As Smith added: “Rather than throwing odd bits of cash around, the Government needs to provide proper, multi-year funding to councils to enable them to plan and prepare clear strategies to find the crooks whilst supporting good landlords. This includes ensuring enough funding is in place to recruit sufficient numbers of well-trained enforcement officers.”