Housing Minister to tackle overcrowded housing

// HA News

Minimum room sizes will apply to shared homes to help to clamp down on rogue landlords cramming tenants into unsafe and overcrowded homes, improving housing for thousands.

Measures will strengthen councils to tackle problem homes head-on and bring an end to ruthless landlords who exploit tenants and charge them extortionate rents to live in poor conditions.

Proposals published today improve standards for shared homes by making it clear that bedrooms must not fall below a minimum room size, closing a loophole which lets some landlords let out rooms far too small for an adult to occupy.

Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell said “In order to build a country that truly works for everyone we must ensure that everyone has somewhere safe and secure to live.

“These measures will give councils the powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area.

“By driving out rogue landlords that flout the rules out of business, we are raising standards and giving tenants the protection they need.”

Other intended measures to help councils raise standard in shared homes include:

  • ensuring mandatory licensing rules apply to all shared homes with 5 or more people from 2 or more household, and to flats above and below shops and other business premises - currently licensing only kick-ins for homes with 3 or more floors and excludes homes attached to businesses, unless they are in a 3 storey buildings
  • requiring landlords of shared homes to provide decent storage and disposal of rubbish
  • tightening up the fit and proper person test for landlords and ensuring criminal record checks are carried out to weed out rogues

Where a landlord fails to obtain a licence they will be liable to pay a potentially unlimited fine.

These measures will complement other government efforts to crack down on rogue landlords who cash in on renting out homes to vulnerable people.

More than £5 million of targeted government funding to 48 councils has brought a big increase in the number of homes checked over 3 months. In early 2016, more than 33,000 homes were inspected and nearly 2,800 rogue landlords are now facing prosecution for providing substandard homes.

Since 2011 government has provided £12 million so local authorities can carry out more raids, issue more statutory notices and demolishing beds in sheds and other prohibited buildings.

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