The Government has announced a £5m fund that up to 65 councils can use to tackle rogue landlords and so-called ‘beds in sheds’.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said the worst affected councils which have a large proportion of private rented stock in their areas and significant problems would be able to bid for a share of the fund.
It said the money could be used to:
- increase inspections of property;
- carry out more raids;
- initiate more enforcement action and prosecutions;
- demolish sheds and buildings that are prohibited.
The DCLG estimated that more than 3,000 landlords had faced enforcement action and in a number of cases prosecution in the last two years.
In January 2014 the Government announced plans to distribute £4m to 23 councils to help tackle the issue.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The majority of tenants are happy with their home, but the private rental sector is still afflicted by too many rogues – who rent dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties without a thought for the welfare of their tenants.
“That’s why we are inviting the worst affected councils to come forward and apply for extra funding, so they can root out the cowboys and rogue operators.”
The Government’s announcement comes after it unveiled a range of measures in the Housing and Planning Bill aimed at strengthening councils’ powers to address poor-quality privately rented homes in their area.
The DCLG has also this week published its response to the Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector consultation. It claimed there was “very strong support” across the sector for its proposed ways of cracking down on criminal landlords.