New rules were instigated yesterday by the government in order to protect renters from rogue landlords, by offering greater power to local councils.
The changes come as part of a bid to crackdown on criminal landlords in order to improve standards of safety and boost quality in the private rental sector. Housing Minister Gavin Barwell outlined the measures, which involve delegating power to councils to deal with offending landlords. The move is a product of the government’s plan, explained in its housing white paper, to work towards a private rental sector serving the needs of ‘landlords and tenants alike.’
Local councils will now be able to impose fines of up to £30,000 as opposed to prosecuting landlords for various housing offences. The council will then keep the income in order to ensure that it is used for private sector housing enforcement purposes.
There has also been an extension to the situations for which a rent repayment order is applicable. The orders are used to penalise landlords managing or letting unlicensed properties. Offences including the illegal eviction or harassment of the occupiers of a property, using violence to secure entry and the breach of a banning order, will now be eligible for rent repayment orders.
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell explained that the measures hope to improve standards in the sector by eliminating the threat of rogue landlords. He said: ‘These measures will give councils the additional powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area. By driving out of business those rogue landlords that continue to flout the rules, we can raise standards, improve affordability and give tenants the protections they need.’