Government cracks down on rogue landlords
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 16 October 2013
A crackdown on rogue private landlords will be announced by the Government today to root out “cowboy operators” who rip off or harass their tenants.
All letting and property management agents will soon be forced to join a redress scheme to ensure tenants can complain about hidden fees and poor service and can receive compensation when a complaint is upheld. At present, only 3,000 agents, some 40 per cent of the industry, have joined one of these schemes.
The Government will issue a code of practice setting standards for managing private rented property, which is likely to be given legal force later. A new charter for the nine million private tenants in England will help them take action if they are the victim of hidden charges or sub-standard accommodation. Ministers will consider forcing landlords to repay rent when a house or flat is found to have serious hazards. Councils could recoup housing-benefit payments for such properties.
A model agreement for long-term tenancies of three years or more will give families more security and local authorities will be urged to protect private tenants from illegal eviction.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, said: “The private rented market is a vital asset to this country. It’s an important option for the millions of people who want a bit more flexibility, or to simply save up for a deposit so they can buy a place of their own.
“This Government is on the side of hard-working people and the last thing we want to do is hurt tenants and kill investment by increasing costs and strangling the sector with red tape. But tenants deserve better value for money and dodgy landlords should be under no illusion they can provide a shoddy service with impunity.”
Mr Pickles said his reforms would increase the quality and choice of rented accommodation and “sharpen the tools available to tenants and councils so we can root out the cowboys and rogue operators in the sector”. He added: “These measures will also give tenants the know-how to demand longer-term tenancies that cut costs and meet their needs – and when things do go wrong, the confidence to take action without fear of eviction or harassment.”
Shelter, the housing charity, has called for an end to letting fees amid fears that they are pushing people into debt. Its survey of 58 agencies this summer found that all charged renters fees to set up a tenancy.
Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler after death of Phil Hughes
Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell’s reputation in tatters as judge rules he used the word ‘pleb’
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of Scotland's leading train...
£90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...
£25000 - £37000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you seeking to furth...
£25000 - £45000 per annum + car + benefit: h2 Recruit Ltd: A fantastic and uni...