09 January 2020 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
More than 100 councils across England have been awarded a share of over £4 million to crack down on criminal landlords and letting agents, including property guardian providers, said housing secretary Robert Jenrick.
The funding will be used by councils to take enforcement action against a small minority of landlords who "persist in breaking the law, making tenants' lives a misery by offering inadequate or unsafe housing", and to advise tenants of their housing rights.
Among the councils to benefit from the funding are:
21 councils across Yorkshire and Humberside - to train over 100 enforcement officers across the region to make sure that landlords meet standards.
Northampton - to create a 'special operations unit' to enforce against the very worst landlords responsible for up to 100 homes in the town.
Thurrock - to work with the care service to ensure that the most vulnerable young tenants are in decent, well-maintained homes.
Greenwich - to trial new technology to identify particularly cold homes to ensure renters are warm over winter.
Jenrick said: "It's completely unacceptable that a minority of unscrupulous landlords continue to break the law and provide homes which fall short of the standards we rightly expect."
In terms of what the announcement could mean for property guardian providers, Kirstie Goulder, associate at law firm Greenwoods GRM LLP, said: "As we know, many empty buildings such as former care homes are owned by local authorities. These buildings clearly fit the bill to be a property guardian-occupied building, meaning welcome opportunities for property guardian providers. However, local authorities will now be under increased pressure to ensure they are collaborating with carefully selected property guardian providers who provide a management service with clear standards to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the guardians whilst in occupation, including compliance with fire regulations, HMO standards and insurance requirements."