North West awarded £580,000 to target worst landlords

The Department for Communities & Local Government has allocated £5m to councils across the country to tackle rogue landlords, with eight local authorities in the North West receiving a share.

Blackpool has been allocated the largest pot out of the North West councils, of £150,000. Liverpool and Hyndburn received £112,500 each, Salford £63,000, Manchester £60,000, Blackburn with Darwen £39,300, Pendle £22,500 and Burnley £18,500.

In November 2015 DCLG invited 65 local authorities to bid for a share of £5m funding to tackle rogue landlords. Forty-eight councils across the country will receive funding.

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.

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said today’s funding is part of a package of measures that will ensure millions of tenants get a better deal when they rent a home.

DCLG has also 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.

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.”

Today’s funding to tackle rogue landlords is part of a package of proposals in the Housing & Planning Bill targeted at standards and management of private rented sector properties.

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.

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