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Confronting criminal landlords

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The relentless increase in legislation and regulations designed to manage the private rented sector means that local councils need ever-increasing funds to confront rogue landlords.

In recognition of the funding required to monitor and to hold criminal landlords to account the government has made available an extra £4million in what it describes as “a crackdown on criminal landlords”, according to a report by the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) on the 4th of November.

Although the new funding comes on top of the £2million that was provided to local authorities for similar purposes last year, the RLA complains that the sums are woefully inadequate.

The RLA insists that it is fully behind the government’s pledge to help root out rogue landlords and to prosecute their crimes. Instead of increasing the raft of legislation and regulation designed to achieve this, however, the landlords’ pressure group says that more serious funding is needed to enforce the existing rules.

Ad-hoc and piecemeal funding is insufficient, says the RLA, which is calling for a comprehensive, ongoing budget from which councils can draw the funds necessary to detect and prosecute criminal landlords.

With sufficient year on year funding such as this, local authorities might be in a position to root out the criminal elements. But more than that, adequate funding may also provide much-needed ongoing support for the vast majority of law-abiding landlords who respect the network of regulations and legislation which define the environment in which they are running their businesses.

That, of course, requires a sufficient number of locally employed enforcement officers on the ground.