Local councils have been issued with further powers to tackle overcrowded homes, and prohibit any criminal activity from landlords in their area.
The councils’ new powers will work towards preventing landlords from letting substandard rental properties. The measures, which come into effect in April, aim to improve standards in the private buy to let sector.
This will be done through several methods. These range from the introduction of minimum size requirements for bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) as well as the introduction of a more stringent framework to determine who is permitted to be a private buy to let landlord. From April this year, anyone who has been convicted of offences such as stalking or burglary will now be banned from being a private landlord.
The aforementioned measures will seek to improve standards in the sector by ensuring that all private landlords are fit and proper to be performing the job. This protects the safety of tenants, as well as the integrity of the private rental sector.
Furthermore, all private landlords who rent out properties which are occupied by five or more people from two or more separate households will now need to obtain a licence. The licence will enable them to continue operating their property in its current state. Without the correct licensing, this would be prohibited and the landlord in question could be fined or convicted following prosecution by the local council in question.
Housing minister, Alok Sharma, commented on the new legislation, explaining that it was put in place to enable local councils to tackle rogue landlords and improve standards in the sector. He said: ‘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.’