The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has published a set of interactive resources to help local authorities with enforcement action against rogue landlords and lettings agents.
The 2 resources, an interactive learning module and knowledge bank of questions and answers are designed to complement the MHCLG guidance on tackling rogue landlords. Our post on tackling rogue landlords can be read here.
MHCLG intends for these resources to assist local authorities develop a sustainable approach to enforcement which would include communicating with a wide range of representative bodies for information and advice. It is hoped that the toolkit will also help enforcement officers refresh and update their enforcement activities
The knowledge bank is made up of detailed answers to questions raised by local authority enforcement officers during a nationwide programme of training and knowledge-sharing workshops. We have taken a look at the knowledge bank and the questions cover topics such as, environmental issues – Housing Health and Safety Rating System and overcrowding, regulatory issues – Houses in Multiple Occupation, licensing and property redress schemes and landlord and tenant behaviour issues – fit and proper person, behaviour and offshore registered owner.
The interactive toolkit is divided into 5 sections, knowledge check, scenarios, enabling a sustainable approach, action planning and building a network. Specifically, the sections contain:
- knowledge check section which should help enforcement officers to quickly access guidance and legislation on rogue landlords. Officers will also be given the opportunity to identify their own strengths and development needs in relation to this guidance and legislation;
- a scenario section which enables enforcement officers to apply their knowledge to a wide range of different cases. The scenarios given include uncooperative landlords and HMO properties;
- a guided exercise aimed at supporting local authority officers to implement their enforcement strategy in a practical way; and
- further information on guidance and policy support available to local authorities regarding enforcement issues.
For the vast majority of landlords and agents in the private rental sector these resources will mean little or nothing. However, there remains widespread concern in the sector that local authority enforcement action is patchy at best. This is a problem for landlords and agents who do not feel that they can rely on advice from local authority officers and frustrates compliant landlords and agents when they see others breaking the law and getting away with it. Anything that assists local authority officers with improving their knowledge and enforcing against the worst landlords must be seen as a good thing.
Readers of this blog are encouraged to click on the link to the interactive resources and familiarise themselves with local authority enforcement powers.