This week Cornwall Council was awarded £127,500 to tackle rogue landlords in the private rented sector after it successfully bid for funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The vast majority of tenants in the private rented sector in Cornwall receive a satisfactory service from their landlords but, a small number of landlords act unlawfully, and place tenants in overcrowded or poorly maintained accommodation.
The DCLG funding aims to crack down on this minority of landlords by providing funding to selected local authorities who have a large proportion of private rented housing stock in their areas and significant problems with ‘rogue’ landlords.
Cornwall Council will use the funding to better understand available intelligence, improve the skills of investigating officers and increase enforcement activity.
This money along with recent legislation, means Cornwall Council will have stronger powers and incentives to tackle ‘rogue’ landlords, including a database of rogue landlords and property agents, fines of up to £30,000 and the introduction of Banning Orders for the first time.
I believe that all homes should be of a decent standard and tenants should have a safe place to live. Cornwall Council already has strong and effective powers through the Housing Act 2004 to deal with poor quality and unsafe accommodation. In serious cases, councils can prohibit the property from being rented out. Councils can even make repairs themselves and recoup the money from the landlord.
Councils are able to implement their own registers, should they so choose, using their powers to introduce selective licensing. The Cornwall Residential Landlords Association held a conference on this topic with Newham Council and others showing Cornwall Council what they could do. While I am frustrated with the slow progress Cornwall Council has made I am hopeful action will now be taken against ‘rogue landlords’.
Published by West Briton.