A leading trade body says the government’s latest injection of funds to help local councils root out rogue operators in the private rental sector is simply not enough.
Earlier this week the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government revealed that an additional £3.8m of public money would be open for councils to bid for; this could be used for staffing, PropTech or other measures to - in the words of Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick - “crackdown on criminal landlords”.
But while the Residential Landlords Association welcomes the move, it warns that the amount simply is not enough to properly find and root out the crooks.
The funding comes just as the RLA has shown that whilst the number of regulations imposing new obligations on landlords has increased by a third since 2010, with councils allegedly failing to properly use them.
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, says: “We welcome the Government’s focus on rooting out criminal landlords. 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 [the new] funding is simply not enough to achieve this. 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.”
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has written to local authorities asking them to apply for a share of the funds “to crack down on these [criminal] landlords to get them to improve or to leave the market completely.”
He adds: “This funding will continue to stimulate new thinking and further encourage innovative and targeted approaches in the Private Rented Sector, driving out criminal landlords and enabling the majority of landlords to continue to provide safe and decent homes for their tenants. I encourage you to apply.”