Housing tenants will be relieved to hear that the government intends further crackdowns on ‘rogue landlords’, with a raft of new powers for councils.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) today announced its intention to crack down on so-called ‘rogue landlord’ practices such as purposeful overcrowding of housing. Other improvements to standards for those renting in the private sector have also been published.
The housing minister Alok Sharma MP has set out plans to ensure that rented properties occupied by five or more people from two or more separate households (i.e. more than one family) will need to be licensed by their local council. According to DCLG this move is designed to clamp down on deliberate overcrowding, and will affect 160,000 properties nationwide.
New rules enforcing minimum size requirements for bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation will be introduced in order to prevent overcrowding. Local councils will be given powers to ensure that only rooms that meet these new requirements will be used for sleeping by tenants.
The government has alsoset out details of criminal offences that will preclude those convicted from becoming landlords. From April 2018 those convicted of offences such as burglary and stalking will be barred from renting properties and added to the rogue landlord database.
The government will bring in provisions for fining rogue landlords up to £30,000 for malpractice and extra protections to prevent tenants from ‘revenge evictions’. Landlords will also become legally responsible for ensuring local council rules on refuse, recycling and anti-social behaviour are complied with.
Mr Sharma says: “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 on these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good.”