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Landlord Accreditation Schemes

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 31st October 2011.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats 2:30 pm, 31st October 2011

What steps he is taking to encourage local authorities to develop landlord accreditation schemes for the private rented sector; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government

Good accreditation schemes can play an important role in developing a local authority’s relationship with their local landlords. Experience shows that accreditation works much better when it reflects local circumstances at local government level.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats

Given that it is only seven weeks until the official beginning of winter and that one of the great failures of the private sector for tenants is that it often provides badly insulated homes, what can the Government do to make sure not only that tenants stay warm but that they do not have ridiculously high fuel bills?

Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government

My right hon. Friend makes a very important point. Both fuel poverty and carbon emissions are major targets of the Government’s policy. That is why we are introducing the green deal next year, which is available to landlords for the private rented sector, and that is also why we have the energy company obligation. My right hon. Friend will know that the Energy Act 2011 provides the opportunity to introduce minimum standards in the private rented sector from 2018 if we need to go further.

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley

Is the Minister aware of the growing trend whereby the produce of drugs sales is used to fund the private rented sector and as a means of laundering the money involved? If so, what is he going to do about it.

Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government

Clearly, if the right hon. Gentleman has evidence of that, I am sure that he will pass it to the proper authorities so that action can be taken. I am well aware that such matters will be vigorously investigated by the police and, if necessary, the Revenue.

Several hon. Members:

rose —