‘I don’t want to live like this’
22 Jan 2016
Today’s announcement of new government funding for councils to tackle rogue landlords is very welcome – not only will it help drive up standards but it also shows once more why rogue landlords need cracking down on in the first place.
You can’t fail to be moved by Tracy’s story. She has leukaemia and is currently living in a flat riddled with mould. Her bed is now so sodden with damp so she has to sleep on a sofa in the living room – her message is simple and clear: ‘I don’t want to live like this.’
We’re working with Tracy right now to help her out of this grim situation. But thankfully, the government’s funding, along with the measures in the Housing and Planning Bill, give local authorities more power and resources to find and fine rogue landlords too.
It’s something we’ve been calling for and that we know good landlords support.
For too long, exploitative landlords and agents have capitalised on the fact that some people so are desperate for somewhere to live they will put up with awful conditions and eye-watering rents.
This extra money is a step in the right direction and shows the government are getting serious about tackling this issue – they even strengthened their own measures in the Bill – increasing fines from £5,000 to £30,000 and ensuring banned landlords who continue to let properties could face imprisonment.
These changes will mean local authorities are better placed to show landlords that it does not pay to be a rogue landlord, and drive them from the market if necessary.
But what about renters themselves? What can they do if they are renting from a rogue landlord?
At the moment, renters can’t credibly threaten to take legal action against their landlord without their local authority on side. This is time-consuming, costly for housing departments and requires a large burden of proof.
The government has the opportunity to reform a simple law so that renters can take legal action against rogues themselves; freeing up local councils to focus on protecting the most vulnerable tenants, who might be in life threatening situations.
So today we have had very welcome news, but there is more to do.
Let’s keep the momentum up: read about how the government could use the Housing and Planning Bill to do even more to fix private renting here.