The government has announced an additional £4m in funding for local councils to combat rogue agents and landlords - but it’s been described as simply too little by a trade body.
The government has described the new funds - to be split between 100 local authorities - as a “crackdown” on rogue landlords, but the Residential Landlords’ Association says it’s inadequate.
The association says it has long been calling on ministers to provide proper, multi-year funding for councils to enable them to plan long term strategies to root out for good those criminal landlords who bring the sector into disrepute.
This should involve sufficient funds to boost the number and skills of Environmental Health Officers, insists the association.
RLA policy director David Smith 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 tackle the minority who bring the sector into disrepute.
“Today’s funding though is nowhere near enough. Instead of offering inadequate and sporadic pots of money, it is critical that the Government provides proper, multi-year funding to enable councils to plan and prepare workable strategies to find the criminal landlords.
“This should be supported by councils having the political will to prioritise enforcement against the crooks rather than tying good landlords up in licensing schemes which do nothing to protect tenants.”
The new funding will be used by councils to take enforcement action against rogue agents and landlords, and advise tenants of their housing rights.
The government says “this will continue the government’s ongoing work to make the private rented sector fairer and stamp out criminal practices for good.”
Among the councils to benefit from the funding are:
- 21 councils across Yorkshire and Humberside – to train over 100 enforcement officers across the region to ensure standards are being met by landlords;
- Northampton – to create a ‘Special Operations Unit’ to enforce against the very worst landlords responsible for over 100 homes in the town;
Thurrock - to work with the care service to ensure the most vulnerable young tenants are in decent, well-maintained homes;
Greenwich- to trial new technology to identify particularly cold homes to ensure renters are warm over the winter period.