Giving landlords extra tax breaks to improve the homes they rent out would boost the plight of any declining seaside towns that are struggling to upgrade, say peers.

The House of Lords select committee on regenerating seaside towns has included the recommendation in a package of initiatives aimed at pulling run-down coastal towns into the 21st century.

In a hard-hitting report, the peers led by Lord Bassam of Brighton, the shadow spokesman for further and higher education, say Westminster and local councils need to work together to tackle the poor deal many people living in the towns are getting from a lack of transport, bad housing and a shortage of further education.

Limited opportunities for education were highlighted as a major issue stopping young people living near the coast from taking better jobs, said the report.

“The proliferation of sub-standard housing and poorly managed HMOs in seaside towns underpins many of the social and economic problems that struggling coastal areas suffer,” said the peers.

The report put forward three issues for urgent attention:

  • Action to ensure local housing allowance is in tune with local market rents
  • Greater support to unlock and incentivise investment in the quality and design of housing stock
  • More support for local councils to tackle sub-standard accommodation

“We recommend the introduction of stronger incentives for private landlords to improve the quality and design of their properties. This might include tax relief for making improvements to properties,” says the report.

The report also calls for the government to consider extra powers for local councils to tackle neighbourhoods with large numbers of shared homes (houses in multiple occupation) and to offer more funding aimed at enforcing licensing laws.

Read the full report The Future of Seaside Towns