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Posted on January 25th 2016 by admin-movingin

£5m pot to stamp out bad landlords is little help without fit-for-purpose legal system

Original Author: Rosalind Renshaw

Extra funding to the tune of £5m to help a number of councils deal with rogue landlords has received only a cautious welcome from the body representing local authorities.

Making the announcement last week, housing minister Brandon Lewis said the funding would allow the 48 local councils sharing the pot to “get rid of the cowboy operators in their area and bring an end to tenants living in miserable homes in the name of profit”.

The Local Government Association said that the system for prosecuting bad landlords needed to be brought into the 21st century.

Spokesperson Peter Box said: “The private rented sector is growing and, with limited resources and competing funding pressures, councils are working hard to ensure that rogue landlords are dealt with robustly and effectively.

“However, they are too often being hamstrung by an outdated system.

“It can take more than a year to prosecute a rogue operator and in many cases paltry fines are handed out to criminal landlords.

“Proposals in the Housing and Planning Bill for banning orders for the worst operators in the private rented sector will help councils tackle this issue, as will the flexibility to issue fines to private landlords as an alternative to prosecutions.

“We will be working with the Government to ensure measures in the Bill are properly resourced so councils can make full use of them.

“Our chronic housing crisis is making it easier for bad landlords to exploit tenants.

“Councils must be given a lead role in building new affordable rented homes so that people who can’t afford to buy are not forced into the more expensive private rented sector.”