It may be almost Christmas but the government is this week unveiling new laws to combat what it sees as the problems caused by rogue letting agents and rogue landlords.
In a Tweet over the weekend, housing minister Brandon Lewis confirmed the new proposals would be launched in the next few days. They have been leaked - presumably by the government - to the Sun newspaper, and conform with those already anticipated by many Westminster-watchers.
The measures will be set out formally this week and debated as part of the Housing and Planning Bill when MPs return from the Christmas recess. They include:
- new fines of up to £30,000 for landlords who let out filthy or unsafe homes, particularly targeting those who fail to take action on overcrowding, hazardous conditions, poor sanitation, electrical faults, damp and vermin infestation;
- the ability of councils to issue civil penalty notice on offenders which, in the words of the Sun, will “provide an instant deterrent for criminal operators”;
- the banning of agents and landlords who are considered ‘serial offenders’;
- the creation of a database of rogue agents and landlords, which can be accessed by local authorities.
Lewis is quoted in the Sun story as saying: “The private rental sector is still afflicted by too many rogues who rent dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties without a thought for the welfare of their tenants. We are determined to crack down.”