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In one of the first major policy announcements of the new year, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has unveiled measures to help English councils tackle criminal landlords and letting agents.

Over 100 councils are to be awarded a share of over £4 million, with some councils expected to use the funding to train more enforcement officers, or test new technology to ensure that it’s possible to identify homes in need of better heating during the winter period.

Under previous governments, landlords often lacked incentives to make improvements to properties, which prompted Peers in the House of Lords to suggest rolling out tax incentives for landlords in coastal regions.

National Landlord Investment Show – MPU

Drive to improve standards in the PRS

The government’s funding for local councils is all part of a new drive to improve standards within the private rented sector (PRS), by ensuring that councils are emboldened in their efforts to rid local authorities of a small minority of unscrupulous landlords and letting agents.

Housing Minister Robert Jenrick explained: “This government will deliver a better deal for renters. It’s completely unacceptable that a minority of unscrupulous landlords continue to break the law and provide homes which fall short of the standards we rightly expect – making lives difficult for hard-working tenants, who just want to get on with their lives.”

In Thurrock, the government’s extra funding is expected to be targeted at helping local care services identify some of the younger and more vulnerable tenants in the local area, making sure they are able to live in more well-maintained properties.

Coastal areas such as Thurrock are central to the government’s improved PRS standards drive, as housing stock is often in worse condition in such places, than in more affluent parts of the country. Properties in these areas are often former holiday homes, converted into full-time housing, which are less sustainable for long-term use.

Most renters happy with housing in PRS

The government’s more proactive approach is all part of its broader housing policy agenda of delivering on what is dubbed a fairer deal for renters in the PRS. The government estimates that 4.5 million households live in the PRS in England.

They added that 82 per cent of private renters are satisfied with accommodation.

In order to improve the standards renters can come to expect in the future, the government is seeking to encourage greater data-sharing between authorities and agencies, to ensure that they can identify parts of England where the most vulnerable tenants live.

Northampton is tasked with having its very own Special Operations Unit created, in order to crack down on some of the worst landlords in the country, who are estimated to be responsible for the provision of up to 100 homes in the local area.

As the UK’s population continues to grow and other government policies such as the scrappage of Section 21 have the potential to tighten the supply of rental homes, moves to raise standards in the PRS matter now more than ever before.

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Peter Adams
Peter reports for Property Notify about how political developments have a direct impact on the UK housing market. He does this, through his reporting on topics such as Brexit, government policy and the various political arguments that surround housing.

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4 Comments

  1. It should be obvious to even the thickest Council worker that no rogue LL will ever register for any of the silly licensing schemes.
    Why would they!?
    More money for enforcement is required.
    It is that simple.
    But first there should be a cheap National LL Licensing scheme.
    So all the good LL will register making it far easier for enforcement to be concentrated on those LL that have failed to register.
    So £50 per property every 5 years.
    Any letting advert would be required to have a valid licence number.
    It would be illegal to let without a licence.
    Any LA would also be subject to criminal sanction if they attempted to manage a property without a Letting licence.
    No good LL would object to paying £50 every 5 years and at least councils would know where all the good LL properties are.
    Random inspections of licensed properties would keep the good LL good.
    But none of this will occur and so Councils will carry on their witch-hunt against good LL forcing even more to sell up making things even worse for tenants

  2. Many landlords are paying considerably more to their local councils for the privilege of a licence. May more are paying nothing. Only a fraction of the non-payers have been caught and the fees do not encourage councils to bring them to book. In 5 years I only had a 5 minute visit for the hundreds of pounds paid out! The government does not need to invest more; the charging councils should make better use of our fees to identify non-payers and be seen to genuinely improve living conditions.

  3. This global village — putting that aside, England desperately needed a Minister of Holistic approach or a more technical name so that gradually by 2025 or 2045 all councils and government care for all, and not to be jealous of their counterparts in other countries.

    Parking space for cars can not open the doors because the size is for small cars of 60 years ago. This makes everyone upset, including landlords. Fines for cars for 10 min to pick up items or deliver.

    And the Law against Landlord in favour of Tenant not to pay rent, solicitors encouraging with creative ways to delay courts and lie about Deposits etc.

    And then Air BNB means fewer people can rent a property for one year because advertised schemes so that you get a flat for £1300 and rent on Airbnb or other platforms for £2900.00
    .

    So Government and Councils who are landlords individually and collectively allow for law breaking, and why not others around the globe get away with it and why not the UK, might as well come down to their standards…

    Will it change, would a betting firm accept a bet that life will get better or will it be war everywhere, streets, shops, councils and in courts.

  4. May be the government should start looking at their own housing stock too. I would love to know the satisfaction level from tenants who live in/rent properties from the local authorities. I wonder how much of their own stock will meet these ever increasing requirements which are being imposed on PRS. From what I have seen, most of them will fail. How frustrating when PRS is being targeted left, right and centre in terms of requirements as well as landlords rights.

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