Substandard Homes:

Following the prime minister’s speech at the Conservative Party conference, when she promised to look into tenancy problems, an inquiry has been launched by Clive Betts MP into local authorities’ powers to tackle landlords renting out substandard or even dangerous homes.

A CLG Select Committee is investigating whether councils have adequate powers to tackle criminal activity by a minority of landlords, and to find any barriers to councils’ intervention in the private rented sector. Also, they want to find whether landlord licensing schemes are working and the effectiveness of current complaint mechanisms for tenants.

Announcing the inquiry, Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

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“With a big rise in the number of people renting over the last decade, there are real concerns about the ability of local authorities to protect tenants by tackling bad landlords and practices.

“Our inquiry will examine how local authorities can carry out enforcement work to deal with rogue landlords as well as looking at approaches used by councils to provide private rented accommodation in their areas.”

The RLA says it has long campaigned for better enforcement rather than more regulation – and believes licensing does not work when it comes to rooting out the criminals.

Chairman Alan Ward said:

“I have been urging councils to kick the crooks out of renting for many years and this announcement comes as welcome news.

“Councils’ decisions will always depend on the political will to take action against the shadowy end of the rental market, those who will never subscribe to licensing or registration schemes.”

The Committee is inviting written evidence in relation to the following questions:

  • Do local authorities have the powers and capacity required to enforce standards in the private rented sector and deal with ‘rogue landlords’?
  • What are the main obstacles to effective intervention in the private rented sector?
  • How effective are landlord licensing schemes in promoting higher quality accommodation?
  • What approaches have local authorities taken to promote affordable private rented sector accommodation in their areas?
  • How effective are complaint mechanisms for tenants in the private rented sector?

The RLA has said it will be providing a written submission (available on their website) ahead of the 24th November deadline and it has offered to provide oral evidence to the committee.

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