Have your say in this consultation and discussion on Tackling Rogue Landlords, only one week left.
All responsible landlords will welcome the chance to influence government in its deliberations on how to tackle the minority of rogues – both landlords and letting agents – who cast a cloud over the private rented sector (PRS). They generally get the business a bad name and give the press and campaigning groups the opportunity to tar everyone in the industry with the same brush, in the national media.
The occupation of landlord is not one of the most revered in society; it probably ranks somewhere near that of estate agents, used car sales people and politicians in terms of popularity. But these rogues, who let overcrowded and unsafe properties, and agents who overcharge tenants and embezzle landlords’ funds, really drag the image of those in the industry into the dirt.
Have your say: the government is seriously trying to tackle the problem and is asking for responses to their consultation document by Thursday 27th of August: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLR9WGX
You should read the document and then respond as it is an important to look at those things which already work well within the sector and highlight those arrears which seriously need attention and improvement.
The paper says:
The private rented sector is an important part of our housing market, housing 4.4 million households in England. The quality of privately rented housing has improved rapidly over the past decade with surveys showing that 84% of private renters are satisfied with their accommodation, and staying in their homes for an average of 3.5 years.
The government wants to support good landlords who provide decent well maintained homes, and avoid further regulation on them. Unnecessary regulation increases costs and red tape for landlords, and can stifle investment. It also pushes up rents and reduces the choice for tenants. However, a small number of rogue or criminal landlords knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation.
We are determined to crack down on these landlords so that they either improve the service they provide or leave the sector. We have already made significant progress in doing this:
- £6.7 million was made available to a number of local authorities to help tackle the acute and complex problems with rogue landlords in their area, including “Beds in Sheds”. So far nearly 40,000 properties have been inspected and over 3,000 landlords are now facing further enforcement action or prosecution;
- We have introduced protection for tenants against “retaliatory eviction” where they have a legitimate complaint, which will come into effect in October 2015;
- We have introduced measures to ensure fairness for landlords, making the eviction process more straightforward in appropriate circumstances such as the persistant non-payment of rent. These changes will also come into effect in October 2015;
- Subject to Parliamentary approval from October 2015, landlords will also be required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy, and to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms.
The government is determined to go further and drive rogue landlords out of business. This discussion paper sets out our proposals, which include a blacklist of rogue landlords and letting agents, tougher penalties for the worst offenders, extending Rent Repayment Orders and introducing civil penalties.
We also want to support good landlords and this document invites views on tackling the problem of abandonment in the sector, where a tenant simply disappears, leaving the landlord uncertain over their right to repossess.
We are keen to engage with local authorities, landlords, letting agents and tenant groups on all of these issues. We want to understand how best to implement our proposals and avoid any adverse outcomes.
We will publish a separate discussion document in due course about the proposed extension of mandatory licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation.
The measures proposed in this paper would apply to England only.
The closing date for comments is Thursday 27 August 2015 which should be submitted via this online form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLR9WGX.
Main points of discussion:
- Tackling the Worst Offenders
- Aggravating Factors in Housing Offences (how to deal with offenders)
- Blacklisting and Banning Rogue Landlords
- The Fit and Proper Person Test
- Rent repayment Orders (RRO) and Civil Penalties
- Dealing with Abandonment (when tenants leave without notice)
Read the full discussion paper here
Shelter has produced a guide to good practice in dealing with rogue landlords based on what has worked in several local authorities. Read it here
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