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Government to unveil new lettings measures - in Christmas week

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.”

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