The government has published new guidance to help local authorities trying to tackle rogue private sector landlords, setting out their powers to crack down on those offering poor living conditions.
The new publication provides a comprehensive guide for local authority officers, setting out principles for assessing and managing private rented homes in their areas and showing the wide range of powers that they have to take action against rogue landlords, as well as practical advice in using them.
It also includes a digital enforcement package with online learning modules for officers who were unable to attend a national programme the government has run to educate councils about their powers to tackle poor practice.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has also published a guide for tenants and landlords showing the rights and responsibilities of each, and providing in-depth guidance on the legislation available to them.
The new information is the latest stage of the government’s plan to punish people who exploit tenants by providing expensive and poor-quality homes.
The MHCLG said local authority enforcement officers play a “crucial role” in making sure people in rented accommodation have somewhere safe and secure to live.
Housing and homelessness minister Heather Wheeler said: “This package of support for those working on the frontline of the private rented sector will ensure they are fully equipped to make use of any new powers which can improve the lives of tenants trapped in poor-quality accommodation.
“This, along with our further guidance for tenants and landlords on their rights and responsibilities, builds on the ongoing work which sets out to make renting fairer and more accessible for all whilst also ensuring that everyone has a home which is safe and secure.”
In November, the government announced that a £2m fund would be made available to councils across the country who would be able to bid for grants to help them step up enforcement efforts against criminal landlords.
Councils can use the money to develop digital solutions to help officers report incidents and to support tenants’ action against their landlords through rent repayment orders.