The government has issued Bournemouth and Poole council chiefs with more than £130,000 to help tackle rogue landlords.
In an attempt to eliminate the problem of landlords not managing their properties properly and failing to protect tenants, the councils received £134,000 following a joint bid, according to the Bournemouth Echo.
The money will specifically be used to garner further intelligence on how rogue landlords are operating, to take action on those who maltreat tenants by illegal evictions and not repaying deposits, and to prosecute the worst landlords to ameliorate living conditions for tenants.
In addition, the councils want to raise awareness of how individuals who are renting can access advice and support about what they’re entitled to and encourage those who might not complain out of fear, to do so.
Councillor Robert Lawton, Bournemouth’s cabinet member for housing, said more needed to be done to clamp down on landlords who are subletting poorly-maintained and overcrowded properties to vulnerable tenants and foreign nationals.
“This successful bid will mean that we can increase our targeted work to raise standards in the private rented sector and, where necessary, we will prosecute those landlords flouting the law.”
Councillor Karen Rampton – portfolio holder for health, wellbeing and housing at the borough of Poole – said: “Landlords that are acting in this way are exploiting vulnerable tenants who are unaware of their rights.
“This funding will provide additional resources to help fully investigate these complex cases enabling us to prosecute the worst offenders.”
She added that action such as this will help to raise awareness for vulnerable tenants and their rights, while also sending out a warning to other landlords who think it is acceptable to operate in this way.
Leeds, Rochdale and Blackpool councils have also recently been awarded financial support from the government to tackle a variety of issues pertaining to rogue landlords. These include ensuring quality and safety standards are met and providing additional enforcement officers who will target and work with landlords to solve problems at properties that are deemed unfit.
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.