Government to target 'rogue' landlords offering house shares


Landlords seeking to rent flats and other smaller properties as house shares face new rules as the Government aims to target "rogue" operators.

Ministers are to seek approval from Parliament to widen the criteria for landlords in England who need to secure a licence when renting a house in multiple occupation.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) wants those offering a place to five or more people - from two or more different families - to be licensed.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

DCLG says the change will mean flats and one and two-storey properties are now subject to licensing, adding it predicts around 160,000 houses will be affected.

The maximum number of people who can occupy a room should be specified in the licence while the Government has brought forward minimum bedroom sizes as part of work to deal with overcrowding and poor accommodation.

DCLG is also awaiting approval from Parliament for regulations it has already tabled in the Commons which outline the offences that will lead to a landlord being banned.

These include burglary, blackmail, stalking, fraud and fire safety offences.

Banned landlords are to be listed in a database from next April, in line with powers included in the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

Housing minister Alok Sharma said he was seeking to target "unscrupulous" landlords who profit from offering "overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes".

He said: "Through a raft of new powers we are giving councils the further tools they need to crackdown on these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good."

Elsewhere, Jeremy Corbyn announced a future Labour government would reduce the eviction powers available to landlords.

This Government is in the pockets of property speculators and rogue landlords.

-- Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 13, 2017

The Labour leader was asked by The Independent if he would abolish so-called "no fault" evictions, in which people are asked to leave without reason.

Mr Corbyn replied: "Absolutely. Absolutely. I am very committed to housing and dealing with homelessness.

"I think it's a moral litmus test for the country: do we just put up with so many rough sleepers or do we do something about it."

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows a landlord to recover possession of a property by giving the tenant two months' notice.

He added there would be an emphasis on longer tenancies as part of a "more regulated" private rented system under Labour.

Mr Corbyn also said: "I am very determined to bring some order and stability to their lives by longer tenancies and eviction that can only be there for good reason rather than just what can be retaliatory eviction."

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