The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government recently announced it is making an extra £2 million available to councils to help them tackle irresponsible private landlords. This article looks at the issue of rogue landlords and asks whether the additional local government funding will help.
How Much of a Problem Are Rogue Landlords?
Announcing the funding, Housing Minister Heather Wheeler noted that irresponsible landlords comprise only a small minority of the total. She backed that assertion up with statistics that reveal 82% of the 4.5 million private renters are satisfied with their accommodation.
When landlords do not treat their tenants fairly, there are rules in place that can compel them to bring their properties up to standard, with a range of penalties that include banning orders and fines. These rules are contained in various pieces of legislation. There is also a central database that is aimed at maintaining a list of rogue landlords. Additionally, landlords who own properties classified as ‘houses in multiple occupation’ must be licensed, which requires the property to be maintained to certain standards, such as having smoke alarms fitted and a current gas safety certificate in place.
How Will The Extra Funding Be Used?
The aim of the funding is to provide extra support to councils in their fight against the minority of rogue landlords. This might include councils sharing best practice, building relationships with external organisations or helping tenants directly to force landlords to improve property standards. Councils have freedom to use the funds however they wish. However, critics have pointed out that the funding level is quite low when divided between all the councils.
What Else Can Be Done?
One of the best ways in which tenants can avoid rogue landlords is to only rent properties through legitimate agents and professional property management Cheltenham companies that can be relied on to maintain their properties to a high standard, such as https://www.completepropertygroup.co.uk.
Despite the rules and available sanctions, there are still irresponsible landlords out there that compromise the safety and comfort of their paying tenants. Extra funding to help crack down on this minority of landlords can only be welcomed. However, whether it will make a tangible difference to the lives of tenants living in sub-standard accommodation remains to be seen.