The government has announced a number of new measures to crack down on rogue landlords in order to eliminate bad practices, overcrowding and improve standards for tenants in the private rental sector.
Properties let out in England which occupy 5 or more people from 2 or more separate households will need to be licensed. This has been set out by Housing Minister Alok Sharma and will be need parliamentary clearance.
If it comes in to effect, the legislation will affect 160,000 houses and will mean councils can take further action to crack down on devious landlords who are renting sub-standard homes.
In addition, the government has set out details of criminal offences which will automatically ban someone from being a landlord. Such offences include burglary and stalking and someone convicted of these can be added to the database of rogue landlords, barring them from letting properties.
The government has taken other measures in 2017 to increase safety and standards in the buy to let sector. Fines have been raised to up to £30,000 for dishonest landlords, protections have been put in to place to safeguard tenants from revenge evictions and £12 million has been funded for councils to take enforcement action in hotspot areas.
The new rules are also likely to benefit wider communities that are tired of living near unkempt properties without proper bins as landlords will be held responsible for making sure the council’s rules on refuse and recycling are followed.
Furthermore, rules setting minimum size requirements for bedrooms in houses with multiple occupation to prevent overcrowding are also soon going to be enforced.
Alok Sharma, Housing and Planning Minister, said: “Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home. But far too many are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes.
Enough is enough and so I’m putting these rogue landlords on notice – shape up or ship out of the rental business.
Through a raft of new powers we are giving councils the further tools they need to crack down these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good.”