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Ministry awards £4m to 100+ councils to help tackle criminal landlords and letting agents

More than 100 councils in England will share over £4m as part of a crackdown on criminal landlords and letting agents, the Housing Secretary has announced.

The new funding will be used by councils to take enforcement action against these landlords, and advise tenants of their housing rights.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “The majority of landlords provide decent homes for their tenants, but a small minority persist in breaking the law, making tenants’ lives a misery by offering inadequate or unsafe housing.”

Among the councils to receive funding are: 

  • 21 councils across Yorkshire and Humberside: “to train over 100 enforcement officers across the region to ensure standards are being met by landlords”.
  • Northampton: “to create a ‘Special Operations Unit’ to enforce against the very worst landlords responsible for over 100 homes in the town”.
  • Thurrock:  “to work with the care service to ensure the most vulnerable young tenants are in decent, well-maintained homes”.
  • Greenwich: “to trial new technology to identify particularly cold homes to ensure renters are warm over the winter period”.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “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.

“Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure and the funding announced today will strengthen councils’ powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector for renters across the country.”

The MHCLG insisted that councils “already have strong powers to force landlords to make necessary improvements to a property through use of a range of measures, including civil penalties and banning orders for the worst offenders”. 

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