UK Government will focus enforcement teams to crackdown on rogue private landlords

Secretary of State Michael Gove has announced funding for seven councils to test new methods of enforcement on rogue private landlords. At the same time, he has been forced to defend the delays in delivering safety legislation following the fire at Grenfell Tower.

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DLUHC are focused on targeting poor quality housing across social and private rented sectors following the recent coroner verdict on the tragic circumstances around the death of Awaab Ishak, in a property which was repeatedly reported as suffering from damp and mould, managed by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH).

The announcement on enforcement comes after Gove wrote to all councils and housing associations demanding urgent action when people complain about damp and mould. Housing Association RHB, are being blocked from funding until the Regulator of Social Housing has concluded its investigation and it can prove it is a responsible landlord. 

Private rented housing

The vast majority of the private rented sector (PRS) is committed to providing quality homes. Landlords who offer good, well-managed housing will welcome increased enforcement activity in surrounding properties. Gove said that the steps being taken are against the housing association and others endangering the lives and welfare of tenants, giving more power to Local Authorities to enforce existing standards.

Renters' Reform and Section 21

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that tenants in the PRS are afraid to report damp and mould due to fear of receiving a Section 21 notice and questioned when Renters' Reform will be brought forward. 

Gove stated that Renters' Reform legislation will be brought forward in 2024 and it will remove Section 21 grounds but will also support landlords who need to regain possession from tenants who incur significant rent arrears or exhibit anti-social behaviour.

Housing supply

On the subject of housebuilding, Gove was asked about Conservative MPs blocking housebuilding in the interest of preserving the wealth of homeowners in the south of England.

New planning laws were to be voted on next week, measures which have been rescheduled due to opposition. Gove claimed significant increases in housebuilding figures in recent years with more first-time buyers on the housing ladder.

A lack of enforcement and the low number of private rented property inspections by local authorities undermines the current regulatory regime. It’s good news that the Secretary of State is allocating further funding in this area, something we have repeatedly called for.

Qualified letting agents are well-placed to support local authorities in maintaining standards. Independent landlords can tap into their knowledge and understanding of the latest legal requirements for the sector to ensure they comply.

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Nathan Emerson CEO | Propertymark