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Bad Landlords Tarnish the Reputations of Good Ones


The Local Government Association (LGA) is urging the government to close a loophole that enables some landlords to convert a property into tiny multiple units and then advertise them as self-contained flats.

This means the landlords are able to access the maximum amount of housing benefit which will be paid direct to the landlord on behalf of tenants.

The LGA says that the housing benefit scam is now forcing tenants to live in dangerous and poor accommodation.
In addition, the organisation which represents 370 councils says that rogue landlords should increasingly be imprisoned rather than having fines imposed.

Figures reveal that private landlords have seen housing benefit payments double from 2006 to reach £9.3 billion in 2015.

Large increase in housing benefit payments

The LGA says that the micro subdividing of a property is now contributing to a large increase in housing benefit payments around the country.

The LGA’s Housing spokesperson, Cllr Judith Blake, said: “The reputations of good landlords are being tarnished by the bad ones.

“Councils are let down by the system and legislation needs to keep up landlord’s ingenuity who are exploiting loopholes which should be closed.”

Cllr Blake urged for legislation to be joined-up to prevent landlords from taking advantage of tenants who are struggling in the housing crisis.

She added that no landlord should be able to act outside of the law and councils will use their powers to ensure that tenants can live in safe rental properties.

Councils will not hesitate in taking irresponsible landlords to court

Cllr Blake added: “Councils will not hesitate in taking irresponsible landlords to court who are failing to comply with housing laws and if tenants suspect criminal behaviour of their landlord, or they’ve been evicted illegally, they should contact their local council’s housing team.”

The call comes as one organisation is warning that a proposed ban on letting agent fees will deter tenants from taking on longer term tenancies.

The warning comes from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla) who say that if the government brings in its proposed fees ban, then tenants will not benefit.

The warning comes after the government has revealed a formal consultation process on the proposed ban on letting agent fees in England.

Arla says that tenants will almost certainly see their rents being increased as agents put up their charges for landlords.

The chief executive of Arla, David Cox, said: “If the fees ban is introduced, rents will rise by £103 every year which will financially punish tenants.”

He added that the government housing policy is ‘shambolic’ and the consultation is now contradicting the government’s pledge to encourage longer term tenancies.


About S Thompson

Simon Thompson is Chairman of the Landlord Syndicate and CEO / Co Founder of Accommodation for Students Ltd.

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