The government has pledged to offer an extra £2million to councils in England to tackle rogue landlords after an investigation revealed criminals landlords were continuing to rent out properties despite being banned from doing so.
The extra fund will work out at less than £6,000 per council, a drop in the ocean when compared to the estimated 10,500 criminal landlords believed to be operating in England.
But the government hope that the extra funds will go some way to help local authorities to take some action against criminal landlords, including building relationships with the emergency services, legal services and local housing advocates.
Councils could also choose to put the money towards helping tenants take action against poor standards through rent repayment orders.
Tenants charities gave the announcement a muted response.
Jacky Peacock, a director of the tenants charity Advice4Renters, said: “It’s encouraging that the government recognises the need for local authorities to step up action, although £2m will not go far, given the scale of the problem and the challenges in making a real impact while also protecting the tenants in the properties.”
The government said there were more than 4.5m households in the private rented sector in England, and that “recent statistics show that 82% of private renters are satisfied with their accommodation”.
This is the second move by the government to tackle the issue of criminal landlords after an investigation by the Guardian and ITV News found that loopholes in the law have allowed landlords who have been convicted of housing offences to continue to collect rents, often on properties that do not meet the decent homes standard.