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Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 26th April 2017.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to strengthen local authority powers to deal with rogue landlords.

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

The Government is committed to providing a strong professional private rented sector with decent standards and good service. An existing framework provides local authorities with strong powers to require that landlords make necessary improvements to a property. Through the Housing and Planning Act 2016 the Government introduced a range of new measures to crack down further on rogue landlords. Local authorities can now impose civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution and we have extended rent repayment orders to allow tenants and local authorities to reclaim rent paid for a wider range of housing offences. They can access information held by tenancy deposit schemes to help identify privately rented housing and to further crack down on rogue landlords in their area through targeted enforcement and prevention work. Other measures include:

  • a database of rogue landlords and property agents convicted of certain offences;
  • banning orders for the most serious and prolific offenders;
  • enabling powers to allow for regulations to require letting agents and property management agents to belong to a Client Money Protection scheme;
  • enabling powers to require mandatory electrical safety checks.

The Government has also:

  • made it a legal requirement for letting and managing agents in England to belong to one of the three Government approved redress schemes, offering a clear route for landlords and tenants to pursue complaints;
  • introduced legislation to protect tenants against retaliatory eviction where they have a legitimate complaint about the condition of the property;
  • made it mandatory to install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms (where necessary);
  • introduced new routes for evicting those who do not have the right to rent and a new offence for those knowingly renting to illegals migrants.

We have consulted on extending mandatory licensing of HMOs and are currently consulting of banning letting agent fees for tenants.

In addition the Government made £12 million available to a range of local authorities with acute problems with rogue landlords, resulting in the inspection of over 70,000 properties and more than 5,000 landlords facing further action or prosecution for breaking the law.

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