Housing minister Heather Wheeler has opened government purse strings to give 50 councils an extra £2.4 million to tackle rogue landlords.

The money is earmarked to pay for extra staff to root out bad landlords and for developing digital tools to track them down.

The minister argues that a minority of landlords flout housing laws and make money by forcing vulnerable tenants to live in unsafe or inadequate homes.

Councils benefitting from the cash boost include:

  • Walsall, West Midlands – Money will fund a project to develop drones and thermal mapping to identify suspected problem homes
  • Lancaster – Cash for extra training across the county
  • London and Manchester will share £330,000 to come up with projects to tackle bad landlords with homes in more than one council area.

The minister said:

“Everyone has the right to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are not giving their tenants this security.

“This extra funding will further boost councils’ ability to root out rogue landlords and ensure that poor-quality homes in the area are improved, making the housing market fairer for everyone.”

The government says less than a fifth of tenants (18%) in 4.7 million private rented homes are dissatisfied with their accommodation.

“The new funding will be used to support a range of projects that councils have said will help them to ramp up action against criminal landlords – for example, to build relationships with external organisations such as the emergency services, legal services and local housing advocates,” said a housing spokesman.

“Councils may also decide to support tenants to take action against poor standards through rent repayment orders, or develop digital solutions, helping officers to report back and make decisions quicker.

“Councils that receive funding will be encouraged to share best practice and examples of innovative approaches, to help improve enforcement in other areas.”