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Landlords face prison time in renting overhaul

Tom Fenton

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Landlords face prison time in renting overhaul

Featured Image Credit: eye35.pix/Alamy Alex Ramsay/Alamy

Most of us have had to deal with dodgy landlords at some point in our lives. However, under new plans to overhaul the private renting market, property owners who knowingly let out sub-par homes could face prison terms of up to six months.

As The Telegraph reported, the plans come amid a proposed government roll out of a new minimum standard across the whole private rented market, although the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities now wishes to build on that by prosecuting less scrupulous individuals.

According to their proposals, which were published on Friday (2 September), landlords who fail to keep properties warm in the winter, and in 'good repair' could be handed a six-month prison sentence by a judge - if they were inclined to do so.

Poor practices have blighted the renting market for decades, which has led to a real clamour for reform from MPs in more recent times.

Landlords who let 'sub-par' properties could face a six-month prison sentence. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo
Landlords who let 'sub-par' properties could face a six-month prison sentence. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

The plans that have been put in motion by the UK government are just the first step towards correcting that widespread issue.

While long overdue, there is now hope that such measures can be passed through both houses with relative ease.

As things stand, landlords who fall short of meeting the minimum standards for a property they let out can either face a civil penalty of £30,000, or be fined by a court and receive a blanket ban from ever leasing out properties again.

In their publication, the DLUHC said: “The current enforcement system largely places the obligation on local councils to identify hazards in privately rented properties and take enforcement action against the landlord, who must then comply.

“This creates an environment where some landlords are not proactive in ensuring their property meets requirements and rather wait for an inspection to be told what improvements need to be made whilst tenants live in unacceptable conditions.”

In early 2022, former Levelling Up Minister Micheal Gove gave the Conservative government a target of halving the number of poor-quality rentals within the next eight years.

Landlords could either face fines or be banned from leasing properties. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo
Landlords could either face fines or be banned from leasing properties. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

However, there has been some backlash to the new proposals, with experts warning that the introduction of the government's Energy Performance Certificate targets could exacerbate the home shortage crisis.

Ben Beadle of the National Residential Landlords Association recently voiced his concerns about the measures: "All the laws in the world will do nothing without improved enforcement against the minority of landlords who tarnish the reputation of the responsible, law-abiding majority.

"That requires properly resourced councils tackling the criminals and rogues, whilst allowing the responsible majority to easily prove their home is safe and compliant."

Topics: UK News, Politics, Crime

Tom Fenton
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