Government to fund rogue landlord crackdown

Government to fund rogue landlord crackdown

9:40 AM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago 34

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The government has today revealed that it will fund councils with high numbers of ‘poor privately rented homes’ in a bid to crack down on rogue landlords and drive-up standards in the private rented sector (PRS).

The announcement by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will fund:

  • £2.3 million for Greater Manchester – including Rochdale and surrounding councils – to increase the use of fines where a landlord is found to have committed an offence
  • £678,000 for Leeds to use behavioural science to change culture among landlords, improving knowledge and skills
  • £1.14 million for Cornwall to create a database of private rented accommodation in the area and record standards to target better enforcement action.

Help councils maintain private rental sector standards

Propertymark, the professional body for estate and letting agents, welcomed the move to help councils maintain private rented sector standards.

Nathan Emerson, Propertymark’s chief executive, said: “A lack of enforcement and the low number of private rented property inspections by local authorities undermines the current regulatory regime.

“It’s good news that the Secretary of State is allocating further funding in this area, something we have repeatedly called for.”

He added: “Qualified letting agents are well placed to support local authorities in maintaining standards.

“Independent landlords can tap into their knowledge and understanding of the latest legal requirements for the sector to ensure they comply.”

Condemned the social housing provider for failing to treat hazardous mould

The cash announcement comes after the government revealed that it will strip Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) of its expected extra £1m funding from the Affordable Homes Programme after a coroner last week condemned the social housing provider for failing to treat hazardous mould that led to the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak.

RHB will not get any extra money until the Regulator of Social Housing has concluded its investigation and it can prove it is a responsible landlord.

The Government will also continue to monitor the housing standards of RBH tenancies closely, working with the Regulator and Ombudsman, to ensure that tenants have appropriate housing.

Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, wrote to all councils and housing associations last weekend saying they must raise the bar dramatically on standards and demanding urgent action when people complain about damp and mould.

Holding failing landlords to account for poor safety and quality

However, the government’s announcement today reveals that holding failing landlords to account for poor safety and quality is not just an issue in social housing.

That is why the government is awarding £14 million to seven areas with high numbers of poor privately rented homes to crack down on rogue landlords and test new approaches to driving up standards.

Mr Gove said: “RBH failed its tenants so it will not receive a penny of additional taxpayers’ money for new housing until it gets its act together and does right by tenants.

“Let this be a warning to other housing providers who are ignoring complaints and failing in their obligations to tenants. We will not hesitate to act.”

He added: “Everyone deserves the right to live in a safe, decent home and this government will always act to protect tenants.”



Comments

Beaver

14:34 PM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Otto at 24/11/2022 - 11:47I know. The problem with modern tech. is that it requires a competent occupant to use it. In theory if a house is super insulated and airtight then it costs less to heat. If you are running a fan rather than opening a window then even your least competent tenants are going to realise that the fan takes electricity, opening the window doesn't but opening the window makes the bathroom cold.

In practice one of the problems with modern airtight houses is that they are short of 02, high on CO2 and full of respiratory pathogens and dust if nothing circulates the air; they need ventilation.
The way high tech. houses solve this is that they have heat recovery ventilation systems. But they only work if they are turned on, if the electricity is on (no power cuts) and the tenants don't turn them off. If you put in ground source or air source heat pumps (which go off when the electricity is off) they only work if you don't leave the windows open. So all of this tech. stuff relies on you having tenants who have the wit to use it and the time to supervise their children and stop them turning things off, or opening windows that shouldn't be open.
A traditionally built house with cavity walls, a properly maintained roof and a modern gas condensing boiler is relatively robust. If tenants turn the heating off, close the vents and shut all the windows then you can have problems with ventilation; the black mould is just the bit of the ventilation problem that is visible.
So some tenants will be wanting to turn power off to keep heating bills down and that's likely to cause a problem. When we burned coal in a lot of our category E and D houses (i.e. most of them) a lot of that stale air just went up the chimney.

Hamish McBloggs

17:01 PM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

I shopped a landlord once. It was a waste of time.

In 2014 we 'won' a tenant. A young family. Our policy to visit prospective tenants at their current place.

Victorian I think. 3 storey, overgrown garden, cast iron guttering hanging off and tress growing from the bits that weren't.

The downstairs subdivided and subdivided.

The family lived in a double room accessible through the truncated and shared kitchen via a work top that had to be raised; akin to the end of a shop counter.

Fuse board out of a museum. Fire safety not present. Ancient and probably untested counter top 2 ring hob.

The tenants would be driven to the cashpoint on a weekly basis by the landlord when the landlord wanted the rent. And woe betide them if they weren't in at his convenience. Rent paid in cash, no receipts, nothing.

All tenants kept themselves to themselves; presumably terrified of the LL.

I contacted the LA to be told that nothing could be done without evidence.

Maybe Gove's success could be significantly improved if, rather than ignoring someone like me, just take a statement and proactively investigate and shut this LL down!

... or would that mean 20 more people to house on an aready strained LA budget?

Best leave it then eh?

Hamish the despondent

Porky

17:13 PM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Hamish McBloggs at 24/11/2022 - 17:01
You would think the tax man woukd be very interested in him?
It's that sort that give the PRS a bad name.

Karl Wilson

17:25 PM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Otto at 24/11/2022 - 11:47
I've started fitting 'Humitity' fans into bathrooms on unswitched fused spurs. The fans turn on with the light, & off only when humidity drops below acceptable level. The unswitched fused spur means at least that they have to remove the fuse to turn it off.. no simple switch

Clint

17:33 PM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Otto at 24/11/2022 - 11:47
I have had several tenants turn off the extractor fans saying that it uses too much electricity and turn off the central heating.

Porky

17:59 PM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 24/11/2022 - 17:33
I'd be surprised if they consume more than 10 Watts or 0.01 kW. Even at 50p/kWh that's only half a penny per hour. They must be desperate not to afford that.

Clint

18:10 PM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Porky at 24/11/2022 - 17:59
More recently, I tend to arrange for the switches to be where they are not clearly visible. I have even had vents for chimneys and other necessary vents blocked.

Claire Smith

19:26 PM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

£678,000 to use behavioural science to change landlord's attitudes? Most landlords have a perfectly good attitude and the rest need to be forced out of the sector as education is unlikely to help. Am I being cynical in thinking that the 'educators' will have connections to government and getting silly salaries?

Porky

19:28 PM, 24th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

I'm sure a tenant will find the switches after acfew weeks unless they are idiots.
To be fair the main reason I've found they are switched off is because they are too noisy. It seems stupid for them to always to turn on when the light is switched on. It would be far better if they operated only on detected humidity level.

Hamish McBloggs

9:39 AM, 25th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

What about changing the behaviour/attitude/beliefs of a tenant?

Our agreement for a flat we owned, like many I'm guessing, had a 'do not dry clothes in the flat' clause. We provided a condensing washer dryer.

On every visit I find that washing was being dried everywhere. It was being taken in, apparently part of the tenant's new portfolio career.

They were told not to dry clothes in the flat and the clause pointed out numerous times.

The tenant shut the trickle vents too. I have no idea why but it's not nice having a stand up row over the purpose of an effing trickle vent.

Then I get a complaint from the tenant about condensation and the presence of mould around window frames so I write and explain, visit and explain.

They complained that the mould was damaging their curtains.

I visit & explain but nothing changes.

Then the tenant has to see the doctor with some repiratory ailment, probably caused in part due to the presence of mould and the stress of a poor standard of accommodation.

The flat was brand new. This tenant was the first tenant in this flat.

To assist breathing, the quack recomended the air be kept humid by placing saucers of water on radiators.

So the mould and condensation gets worse. No matter what I say or write, the laundry continues, saucers everywhere and because I'm not a doctor so I'm not allowed to point out that the problem is self inflicted.

With the torrents of condensation I personally cleaned all the mould, explained the clause in the tenancy agreement... again ... explained the trickle vents ... again ... explained the reasons for the condensation and subsequent mould .... again. I left them with sponges and mould cleaner. But apparently 'chemicals' are bad for them and they must steer clear of 'chemicals' (Doctor's orders) so the tenant hoped my mould cleaning didn't exaccerbate the breathing difficulties.

I told the tenants to visit any other flat in the block and realise that it is their behaviour and not our flat. Just air the b****y flat every now and then, Open the windows every now and again.

I don't know if they did visit any other flats but the tenant informed me they'd contacted the LA regarding me and the problems and that there had been a visit from some department or other and I would be hearing from them.

The LA never contacted me.

The tenant fell 8 weeks behind on the rent. I proactively sought debt counselling and support for them, helped them with their budget, helped identify where the money is going. I spent hours and hours trying to help them.

The response was to join a gym, eat more takeaways and get a sky subscription causing them to fall further behind then tell me it didn't matter and that it was alright for me - I've got loads of money.

We had done what we could. This type of inadequacy, ineptitude, ungracious willful stupidity is for trained social services and psychyatrists and not a LL.

The final conversation I had on their behalf with Christians Against Poverty, who were doubling themselves up to help by negotiating reduced and modified/consolidated payments went something like:

',,, some people simply will not be helped and will always blame others. We're walking away now and you should too. We need people like you, your debt counselling is second to none, do you want a job?'

I served a section 8 which was vigorously defended and it cost £1000's. Barristers up from London and everything. It was a slam dunk for me but a bloody one.

Although I could ramble on for hours about this tenant, my final comments are:

In the light of the recent sad news I was pondering what would have happened to me had this tenant gone to hospital or worse. Would the 'system' of grown ups have found as I found or would I have been sent to pick up the soap in the showers?

The LA didn't contact me. Why? Perhaps a grown up visited and saw the problems for what they were and dispensed some reality? I don't know, But I'm very glad I wasn't forced to lock horns with them.

The Doctor who prescribed saucers of water and no chemicals may well have been right. BUT the diagnosis is damned without context and root causes not fixed.

Hamish

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