New rules now in force in UK to crackdown on rogue landlords

New rules have come into force from today in the UK which the Government says will help crackdown on rogue landlords that flout the rules and improve safety and affordability for renters.

Announcing the measures, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell confirmed that the powers will give local authorities the tools to crack down on rogue landlords who shirk their responsibilities.

This comes as part of the Government’s plan set out in its recent housing white paper to create a bigger and better private rental sector that meets the needs of tenants and landlords alike, giving those who rent a fairer deal.

Councils are now able to impose fines of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for a range of housing offences. They will be able to retain all of the income to make sure it is used for private sector housing enforcement purposes.

Rent repayment orders, which can be issued to penalise landlords managing or letting unlicensed properties, have also been extended to cover a wider range of situations. These include the illegal evictions or harassment of the occupiers of a property, using violence to secure entry and the breach of a banning order.

‘These measures will give councils the additional powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area. By driving out of business those rogue landlords that continue to flout the rules, we can raise standards, improve affordability and give tenants the protections they need,’ said Barwell.

Further new measures introduced today include giving councils access to tenancy deposit protection data that help them identify rental properties in their area, and tackle the small minority of rogue landlords through targeted enforcement and prevention work.

Letting agents’ fees will also be banned to give renters greater clarity and control over what they will pay and other intended measures in the housing white paper to help renters include encouraging further growth through of the supply of rental properties by amending planning rules so councils can proactively plan for more long term Build to Rent homes.

The Government is also looking at allowing developers to offer more affordable rent alongside other forms of affordable housing and working to ensure longer term family friendly tenancies are available in the private rental sector.

Since 2011 the UK Government has provided £12 million so local authorities can carry out more raids, issue more statutory notices and demolish beds in sheds and other prohibited buildings.