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Monday, September 21, 2015

LGA call for more power to tackle rogue landlords

A body representing over 370 local councils in England and Wales want more powers to control the private rental sector, letting agents and landlords - and says magistrates should have the right to jail the worst offenders.

The Local Government Association are asking for councils to be granted further powers to help control landlords and agents in the private rented sector who they say are shrugging off fines.

The LGA are asking for magistrates to be given the power to jail the worst offenders, alongside joining the call for a national blacklist of rogue landlords and agents. 

The LGA recommends -
  • The introduction of sentencing guidelines on housing act offences as a priority to ensure consistent and appropriate fines. For more serious housing offences, the Housing Act could be amended to bring in a new range of penalties from a fine up to a community order or custodial sentence.
  • A ‘blacklist' of persistent offenders would be useful to councils to support the issuing of licenses to landlords and other enforcement work, as long as the administrative burden and cost of compiling a list does not fall on local authorities.
  • The "fit and proper person" test for landlords should be strengthened to provide a clear framework to remove the uncertainty for councils and landlords and to provide a robust basis for accepting or refusing a license.
  • Government should amend the notice period and compensation arrangements for Article 4 planning powers so that councils can respond effectively to local concerns over concentrations of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
  • Councils should be given "power to direct" surplus public land to improve the quality of the private rented sector through large scale investment.
Read the full LGA release on tackling rogue landlords and tenants

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