From April this year, new legislation will be introduced in a bid to improve standards for those renting in the private sector by cracking down on bad practices and stamping out overcrowding.
The new legislation – which is subject to parliamentary clearance and will affect around 160,000 houses – means that landlords letting out properties in England occupied by 5 or more people, from 2 or more separate households, will need to be licensed.
Councils will be given powers to clamp down on unscrupulous landlords, including tougher rules on minimum size for bedrooms. The Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said that “far too many” tenants were being exploited by unscrupulous landlords and they would now have to “shape up or ship out”.
Database of rogue and convicted landlords
The Government has also outlined details of a database of rogue landlords which could result in convicted landlords being barred from letting out properties if they are found guilty of offences such as burglary and stalking.
In a Government press release issued 28 December 2017, Mr Sharma stated:
“Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home. But some are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes”.
These latest measures build on Government action to date to drive up safety and standards in the private rented sector, including the introduction of fines of up to £30,000 for “dodgy” landlords, £12 million funding for councils to take enforcement action in hotspot areas and protection for tenants from revenge evictions.