In early January 2020, a £4m fund announced by ministers to tackle rogue landlords landed at the doorsteps of 100 councils across England. Councils in Yorkshire and the Humber plan to train enforcement officers to vet standards while officials in Northampton are setting up a special unit to manage the worst landlords.
With over 1.2m privately rented homes considered non-decent, action needs to be taken. But while it’s great to see official steps being taken to address the issue, what about the problems seen in social housing?
We asked Rob Moore, one of our housing disrepair solicitors and specialists, to comment on the news; “While this relatively minor government investment to help local councils protect tenants against criminal behaviour by private landlords is to be welcomed, it will do nothing to address the nation’s social housing crisis, for which the under-funded councils themselves need to take a large amount of responsibility.
“There are more than 1.5 million tenants who rent directly from local councils and we work on cases every day where tenants live with housing disrepair as their properties have fallen well short of the standards required from a modern landlord. The safety, security and health – both physical and mental – of our clients and their families is being jeopardised on a daily basis because of the lack of investment in repairing and updating ageing and dilapidated properties.
“It will be interesting to see whether councils’ increased powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards for private renters will lead to some much needed soul searching about the sub-standard conditions which an alarming proportion of council tenants are increasingly being subjected to.”
While we applaud the moves for change, there is a lot of work left to be done. With a reported 2.5 million social homes needing repairs in February 2019, housing disrepair across both private and social housing remains an issue.