Private Rented Housing: Standards

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 14th February 2018.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Chesterton Lord Hunt of Chesterton Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, following reports of poor standards of private rental accommodation, what remedial measures they are taking in conjunction with local and national housing agencies; and how those measures will be publicised.

Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The Government is determined to crack down on rogue landlords. Local housing authorities already have strong powers under the Housing Act 2004 to require that landlords make necessary improvements to a property. Where a property contains potentially serious risks to the health and safety of the occupants, the local housing authority must take enforcement action.

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced a range of further measures to strengthen local housing authority powers to tackle rogue landlords and drive up standards. In April 2017, we introduced civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution and extended Rent Repayment Orders, which require a landlord to repay a specified amount of rent to a local housing authority and/or tenant, to cover illegal eviction and failure to comply with a statutory notice. We intend to introduce a system of banning the most serious and prolific offenders from renting properties, as well as a database of rogue landlords and lettings agents to help local housing authorities with their housing standards enforcement work, in April 2018. These new powers will give local housing authorities the tools they need to crack down on rogue landlords who disregard the law and take advantage of tenants in the private rented sector.

Ultimately local housing authorities are responsible for taking enforcement action against rogue landlords. Our 'How to Rent' and 'How to rent a safe home' guides provide information for tenants on their rights and responsibilities and signpost them to their local housing authority for further information should there be a problem with their rented property. The Department will also be publishing further guidance for local housing authorities on the powers in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 which will encourage local housing authorities to publicise successful prosecutions locally and to make information on banned landlords available on request by a tenant. The guidance will be available on by April 2018.

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