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Issue:- Sunday, 24 January 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 2 news items.    Page - 7.

£5M cash for Councils to stop rogue landlords

Councils across the Country are to receive a £5m cash boost to tackle rogue landlords in their area, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis announced. 48 Councils will share the funding so they can take on the irresponsible landlords that force tenants to live in squalid and dangerous properties, making their lives a misery.

The cash will also allow Councils to root out more 'beds in sheds'. Since 2011 nearly 40,000 inspections have taken place in properties with over 3,000 landlords facing further enforcement action or prosecution.

The funding will allow local authorities to carry out more raids, increase inspections of property, issue more statutory notices, survey more streets and to demolish sheds and prohibited buildings.

Mr Lewis said this funding is part of a package of measures that will ensure millions of hard working tenants get a better deal when they rent a home. Significant progress has already been made, now with £11.7 million distributed to Councils to crack down on rogue landlords. And we have introduced protection for tenants against retaliatory eviction where they have a legitimate complaint and stopped landlords from serving an open-ended eviction notice at the start of a tenancy.

The measures will not hamper the vast majority of landlords who are diligent and responsible. Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:- "Many private rental tenants are happy with their home and the service they receive, but there are still rogue landlords that exploit vulnerable people and force their tenants to live in overcrowded and squalid accommodation. We are determined to tackle these rogues which is why we are providing 48 Councils with extra funding, so they can get rid of the cowboy operators in their area and bring an end to tenants living in miserable homes in the name of profit. We also want to raise the quality and choice of rental accommodation across the sector. The funding will ensure tenants know what level of service they can expect and have confidence to get help and take action if things go wrong."

The poor quality, overcrowded and dangerous accommodation let by rogue landlords can result in a ripple effect of wider problems in the local community such as noise problems; sanitation issues for whole roads; greater fire risk; Council Tax and benefit fraud and anti social behaviour such as street drinking.

This funding should to tackle rogue landlords is part of an ambitious package of proposals in the Housing and Planning Bill to ensure that England's 9 million private tenants feel confident to demand better standards and management of their property by landlords.

Measures in the Bill include:-

Database of rogue landlords and property agents convicted of certain offences.

► Banning orders for the most serious and prolific offenders.

► Introduction of civil penalties of up to £30, 000 as an alternative to prosecution.

► Extension of Rent Repayment Orders to cover illegal eviction, breach of a banning order or failure to comply with a statutory notice.

► More stringent fit and proper person test for landlords of licensable properties such as Houses in Multiple Occupation.

From 1 February 2016 landlords will have to carry out Right to Rent checks to ensure potential tenants have the right to rent property in the UK.

Right to rent checks can be done from 28 days before the start of a tenancy agreement. for more information visit this UK Government website.

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