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Confiscation of buy to let properties amongst new measures urged by MPs

MPs want a review of laws surrounding private rental standards, including councils having the right to confiscate buy to let properties from the worst offending landlords.

The demands come in the report issued today by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, which over recent months has held a series of meetings to hear evidence from lettings trade bodies as well as organisations such as Shelter.

The committee’s report calls for:


- Greater political leadership by councils to address low standards in the private rented sector. The report notes: “It is clearly the case that some local authorities have placed a higher priority on addressing low standards in the private rented sector than others have done. We believe this disparity in effective action can only be resolved through political leadership”; 

- The government to consider new ways of informing tenants and landlords of their rights and responsibilities, in particular through social media;

- The Law Commission to undertake a review of the legislation relating to the private rented sector and provide guidance as to whether a new approach to regulation in the sector would bring more clarity for tenants, landlords and local authorities. 

- The government to “immediately update the baseline assumptions within the operating guidance for the HHSRS, which are now twelve years out-of-date.” The guidance for the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System, which is the regulatory standard for private rented housing, is urgently in need of updating;

- A new fund “to support local authorities with this work, especially those that prioritise informal approaches to enforcement”;

- In the most extreme cases, badly behaving landlords could have their rental properties confiscated;

- The creation of a new Housing Court. 

Committee chairman Clive Betts says: “The imbalance in power in the private rented sector means vulnerable tenants often lack protection from unscrupulous landlords who can threaten them with retaliatory rent rises and eviction if they complain about unacceptable conditions in their homes.

“Local authorities need the power to levy more substantial fines against landlords, and in the case of the most serious offenders, ultimately be able to confiscate their properties.

“Such powers are however meaningless if they are not enforced, and at the same time councils need more resources to carry out effective prosecutions.

“Stronger powers, harsher fines and a new commitment to cracking down on unscrupulous practices will go some way towards rebalancing the sector and protecting the many thousands of vulnerable residents who have been abused and harassed by a landlord.”

  • icon

    Another day another anti landlord story

  • SCN Lettings

    It's like watching an episode of Batman. "Biff" "Bosh" "Kapow" . Do these idiots not realise that by constantly beating landlords up then the ones who are will quit, and the ones who want to be, won't. More regulatory burden on agents. Increasing demand, reducing supply and choice for landlords and tenants. Well done HM Government, Shelter, and the other left wing leaning pressure groups. You will and are reaping what you sow.

  • Lenny White

    Not to worry, high and mighty gov.uk has no problem attacking private individuals (taxation) and SME's (fees ban) but when it comes to Banks they're spineless. There's not a chance that they will the ever get to threaten the risk of the loan that lenders have with their 1st charge on property.

  • icon

    When all the landlords have left the building and turned the lights out who is going to house the 9 million tenants who will no longer have anywhere to live?

    That is a lot of new houses the government will need to build. The large building companies must be rubbing their hands at the prospect. Or is that the real reason after all?

    Jon  Tarrey

    Empty threats, though, isn't it? Landlords know renting property is still a massive cash cow, despite all the regulatory changes and efforts to deter them. While the PRS continues to grow, all this rhetoric from defensive landlords is hot air.

    The protectionism is too much to bear on a hot day like today.

  • icon

    It's not hot air. I'm starting to sell mine and I know a lot of landlords who are doing the same


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