Negligent Landlords to be Punished by New Laws

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New measures put in front of Parliament this week mean that Councils will acquire new powers to punish rogue and negligent landlords.

The new laws put in place mean that negligent landlords found to be in breach of overcrowding and living conditions regulations could be subject to fees reaching up to £30,000. These fees will be levied directly by local authorities.

The move comes as part of a central government crackdown on rogue landlords. This was first introduced in January. It is set to affect approximately 160,000 in England and includes imposing banning orders on the worst offenders.

The new standards apply to all landlords who are seeking new licenses. Those who currently own buy to let properties will be allowed up to 18 months within which to make necessary changes when reapplying for a licence once their original has expired.

The new rules enable local councils to set minimum size requirements for bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation in order to prevent overcrowding The licensing requirement will also allow local councils to make sure that only rooms meeting a suitable standard are used for people to sleep in.

Work on implementing the policy has been in progress for over a year. The government initially held a consultation on plans to van rogue landlords as early as 2016.

Parliamentary under-secretary for housing and homelessness, Heather Wheeler, spoke out about the plans. She said that they would tackle ‘unscrupulous landlords’ who exploit tenants by renting out ‘cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties.’

She commented: ‘Today’s measures will mean landlords must provide adequate space for their tenants or face a hefty fine. It is part of a raft of new powers for councils to crack down on rogue landlords and comprehensive action we are taking to improve conditions for private tenants.’

The news follows separate legislation passed in April 2017 that would see rogue landlords fined up to £30,000 for failing to uphold expected standards in the sector. Offences could range from the failure to fix problems that could cause health problems for tenants. Harassment or the use of violence were also banned under the legislation. Illegally evicting people from their home is also not permitted.

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