Law News

Funding to tackle criminal landlords step in the right direction

Em Morley - November 6, 2019

More funding towards a crackdown on criminal landlords has been announced by the Government. This announcement has been welcomed by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), but they say it is nowhere near enough.

Ministers have now stated that local authorities will be able to access almost £4m in new funding, as part of what it describes as a “crackdown on criminal landlords” for 2019/2020. It was in 2018/19 that £2m was made available for similar efforts.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “It’s unacceptable that a small minority of unscrupulous landlords appear to be breaking the law and providing homes which fall short of the standards that tenants rightly expect.

“Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure, and the funding announced today will help to further strengthen councils’ powers to crack down on criminal landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector.”

Whilst the Government’s focus on rooting out criminal landlords has been a welcome announcement, the RLA insists more needs to be done. They have highlighted that it is simply not enough to properly find and root out the crooks.

This plan for funding was confirmed this week (4th November 2019), on the same day that the RLA released its report on landlord legislation. This shows that whilst the number of regulations imposing new obligations on landlords has increased by a third since 2010, councils are failing to properly use them.

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, has commented: “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.

“That said, today’s funding is simply not enough to achieve this. Rather than throwing odd bits of cash around the Government needs to provide proper, multi-year funding to councils to enable them to plan and prepare clear strategies to find the crooks whilst supporting good landlords. This includes ensuring enough funding is in place to recruit sufficient numbers of well-trained enforcement officers.”