Suffolk and Essex receive major government boost to battle criminal landlords
PUBLISHED: 08:30 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:37 03 January 2020
Time could soon be up for criminal landlords after councils in Suffolk and Essex were told they would recieve a share of more than £400,000 of funding to stop them in their tracks.
The funding comes following an announcement from housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP, as the government hopes to fight back against rogue landlords and letting agents abusing tenants.
East Suffolk Council and West Suffolk Council will be dividing a £450,000 share of the £4million national fund alongside Tendring in Essex and six others in Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
In Tendring, the money is planned to be used to identify homes in Jaywick Sands which do not meet standards - with the area named the most deprived area in England three times running since 2010.
Elsewhere, East Suffolk Council hopes to implement a new scheme to address poor property standards in homes where the tenant exhibits hoarding and self-neglect behaviour.
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Although the government has said the majority of landlords provide decent homes for their tenants, a "small minority" are said to persist in breaking the law by offering inadequate or unsafe housing.
In Essex, 1,200 complaints against private landlords were recorded in 2017/18, with only two prosecutions. In Suffolk and Norfolk, only one council enforced powers to fine rogue landlords.
Mr Jenrick MP said the announcement will help hard-working tenants "get on with their lives".
He added: "Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure and the funding announced today for the east of England will strengthen councils' powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector for renters across the country."
The government has also said it is committed to ending "no-fault evictions" and will introduce lifetime rental deposits so renters no longer need to save up for a new deposit while their money is tied up in an old one.
Labour has hit out against the announcement however, with shadow housing secretary John Healey labelling the fund "a drop in the ocean" compared to council cuts since 2010.
According to government statistics, 82% of the 4.5million private rented households in England are satisfied with their accommodation.