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Fresh measures to crack down on rogue landlords announced

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  • 16/03/2018
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Fresh measures to crack down on rogue landlords announced
The Ministry of Housing has laid before parliament new measures to target landlords renting out overcrowded and dangerous homes.

 

The measures were introduced as secondary legislation to the Housing and Planning Act 2016, and targets rogue landlords of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

From October, councils will be able to set minimum bedroom size standards and introduce limits on how many people can live in each bedroom of a licenced HMO.

The councils will be able to set minimum room sizes, or stipulate more stringent space requirements in accordance with local needs.

In addition, councils can impose fines of up to £30,000 for non-compliance.

There will be requirements to provide adequate waste storage facilities in line with local authority’s rules to stop rubbish piling up outside some shared rented homes.

The new standards will apply to all landlords seeking new licences, while landlords of existing properties will be given up to 18 months to make necessary changes when re-applying for a licence once it expires.

National minimum standards specify that rooms for sleeping by one person over 10 must be at least 6.51 square meters in size, those slept in by two people over 10 at least 10.22 square meters, and rooms slept in by children of 10 or younger at least 4.64 square meters.

 

Wider moves

The ministry’s announcement comes as the latest development in a series of efforts to tackle rogue landlords.

From April this year, the most serious offenders could face banning orders, and a database of rogue landlords and letting property agents convicted of certain offences will also be established.

In February, legislation was introduced bringing landlords of one and two-storey multiple occupancy properties within the scope of mandatory licensing requirements – affecting approximately an additional 160,000 properties.

Currently, mandatory licensing for HMOs only applies to properties with three or more storeys and occupied by five or more people.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. But some tenants are being exploited by a minority of unscrupulous landlords who profit from renting out cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties.

“Today’s measures will mean landlords must provide adequate space for their tenants or face a hefty fine. It is part of a raft of new powers for councils to crack down on rogue landlords and comprehensive action we are taking to improve conditions for private tenants.”

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