The government has confirmed that additional funding is being made available to councils to tackle the menace of rogue landlords. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) says that over £4 million is the amount to be shared out among 100 councils nationwide, which equates to just £40,000 per council if the money were to be shared equally.
However, the allocation is to be via a bidding process. Councils were invited to submit bids for the government’s Innovation and Enforcement Grant Fund” by 1 December 2019. The money is earmarked to be spent by the end of the current financial year, 31 March 2020.
However, the Residetial Landlords Association (RLA) argues that the additional funding is nowhere near enough to root out the problem of criminal landlords, and although welcome is “not enough to tackle the scale of the problem.”
RLA policy director David Smith, says:
“We welcome the government’s focus on rooting out criminal landlords. For too long the debate has been driven by ideological calls for more regulation of the sector. What is needed is better enforcement of the powers already available to root out the minority who bring the sector into disrepute. Today’s funding is nowhere near enough.
“Instead of offering inadequate and sporadic pots of money, it is critical that the government provides proper, multi-year funding to enable councils to plan and prepare workable strategies to find the criminal landlords.
“This should to be supported by councils having the political will to prioritise enforcement against the crooks rather than tying good landlords up in licensing schemes which do nothing to protect tenants.”
According to the National Landlords Association (NLA), some of the successful project bids already confirmed include:
- In Northampton the council will target the ‘very worst landlords’ through the formation of a ‘Special Operations Unit’
- In Greenwich new technology will be trialled that will be aimed at identifying renters in cold homes and helping ensure they can remain warm over winter
- 21 councils across Yorkshire and Humberside are to train over 100 enforcement officers
- Thurrock – ist to work closely with the care services to ensure that that most vulnerable tenants can secure decent accommodation.
Director of Policy and Practice at the National Landlords Association (NLA) Chris Norris, says:
“We welcome the news that more funding will be made available for councils in England to crack down on landlords who break the law and provide inadequate services to tenants. While an overwhelming majority of landlords provide an excellent service to their tenants, it is important that the government makes a stand against criminals operating in the private rented sector.
“However, this one-time handout is wholly insufficient in contrast to the long-term issues facing authorities burdened by ever more legislation of increasing complexity. The offer of just over £4 million to be spread across around 100 of the 343 local authorities – an average of less than £40,000 per council – is simply not enough.
“Good landlords want to see fair enforcement and local authorities need far more substantial and consistent support and funding to be able to enforce properly in the PRS and rid the sector of the criminals operating within it.”