Funding for councils to crack down on ‘rogue’ landlords

The Ministry of Housing, Communities, & Local Government (MHCLG) has announced a £2 million funding boost for local authorities to tackle ‘rogue’ landlords.

Local authorities will be entitled to bid for funding to step up enforcement action against landlords who offer inadequate or unsafe properties.  The funding will assist local authorities develop and test innovative ways to clamp down on poor rental properties.

Local authorities already have powers such as banning orders and fines however, enforcement is a known problem which this funding may help to tackle. Better information on housing stock and on landlords and agents operating in the local area should assist with enforcement as well as data sharing. It is hoped that the funding will help to build relationships with external organisations such as legal services and local housing advocates.

The MHCLG has also suggested that the funding may be utilised to assist tenants taking action against poor standards through rent repayment orders, or develop digital solutions, helping officers to report back and make decisions quicker. The money should also encourage local authorities to share best practice of enforcement action and innovative approaches that may be self-sustaining and easily adapted around the country.

The £2 million funding has been available for the financial year 2018/2019. Applications for the money must be received by the MHCLG on or before 30 November 2018 with local authorities advised of the outcome of their bids by 4 January 2019.

Comment

This is not a huge sum of money and if it were to be spread across all of the 326 eligible local authorities it represents a paltry sum of just over £6,100 each. In fact, the money is likely to be given to a far smaller number of authorities who have a specific plan in place which is able to be put forward on the relatively short timescale allowed for in this bidding process. It is likely that rather more money will need to be made available if there is to be a real improvement in enforcement.

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