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Newham gets £400k boost to tackle rogue landlords

PUBLISHED: 10:37 22 January 2016 | UPDATED: 13:42 27 January 2016

Newham Council has been given extra funding to tackle rogue landlords. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

Newham Council has been given extra funding to tackle rogue landlords. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A government cash injection of £5 million to tackle rogue landlords nationwide has been a shot in the arm for the borough.

Factbox: Newham landlord licensing scheme

Introduced in January 2013

Housing officers have so far:

- issued 35,258 licences

- prosecuted 707 landlords

- banned 26 landlords from operating in the borough,

- taken part in 291 joint operations with police, environmental health, HMRC and UKBA

- collected £924,877 in additional council tax from houses of multiple occupation

Newham Council has taken the lion’s share of the funding pot from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) – divided up between 48 local authorities – at just over £428,000.

According to the DCLG the cash will allow councils to “root out more ‘beds in sheds’” and take on “irresponsible landlords that force tenants to live in squalid and dangerous properties, making their lives a misery”.

Newham’s large slice of the pie is likely due to its pioneering role as the first council in the country to demand all private properties be licenced with the council in an attempt to crack down on criminal landlords.

It was among 65 local authorities to make a bid for the £5million pot in November last year. Eleven of the councils to receive funding are from London and include nearby Barking and Dagenham (£250,000) and Tower Hamlets (£100,000).

Since 2011 nearly 40,000 inspections have taken place in properties in England with more than 3,000 landlords facing further enforcement action or prosecution.

The new funding will allow local authorities to carry out more raids, increase inspections of property, issue more statutory notices, survey more streets and to demolish sheds and prohibited buildings.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Many private rental tenants are happy with their home and the service they receive, but there are still rogue landlords that exploit vulnerable people and force their tenants to live in overcrowded and squalid accommodation.

“We are determined to tackle these rogues which is why we are providing 48 councils with extra funding, so they can get rid of the cowboy operators in their area and bring an end to tenants living in miserable homes in the name of profit.”

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales added: “It is right that government recognises in the face of the harsh cuts they are inflicting that councils need extra funding to enable them to continue with initiatives like these.

“Newham has a well established landlord licensing scheme which targets criminal landlords, while supporting the good ones and their tenants. Our scheme has already seen hundreds of landlords taken to task and hauled in front of the courts for providing disgusting and often unsafe accommodation and 26 banned from managing properties in our borough.”

From next month landlords will also have to carry out Right to Rent checks to ensure potential tenants have the right to rent property in the UK.

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