New initiative to tackle rogue landlords in Darlington

New initiative to tackle rogue landlords in Darlington
14 January 2020

A new initiative has been launched to tackle rogue landlords in Darlington following a successful bid for Government funding.

Darlington Borough Council has been awarded £59,300 from the Private Rented Sector and Enforcement Grant Fund, via the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The money will be used to develop a comprehensive database for Darlington that will help to identify areas where there are high concentrations of private rented accommodation in poor condition.

This improved intelligence will support the council in its bid to tackle low standard private rented dwellings and the rogue landlords who rent them out. The worst areas will be targeted first with robust enforcement action.

A second stage will then focus on specific areas of deprivation and poor housing conditions including Northgate, North Road and Park East areas. A final stage will see additional specialist training for staff to enable more proactive enforcement action against bad landlords.

Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, said:

“We’re delighted to have secured financial support from the government for this initiative which will help us to develop an intelligence-led approach to identify the worst landlords who will then be challenged through effective and robust enforcement.

“It will also allow us to target properties where there are vulnerable households; dwellings in poor condition, households facing fuel poverty and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that require a licence.

“Ultimately, the work of our officers will help provide better living conditions for the most vulnerable residents across Darlington. Financial penalties imposed will be reinvested in improving housing conditions for all residents.”

There are approximately 50,780 households across Darlington with around 9,000 privately rented. Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, a landlord can be fined up to £30,000 if found guilty of offences such as failing to comply with an improvement notice.

Darlington Borough Council was one of more than 100 local authorities across England to be awarded a share of over £4m to crack down on criminal landlords and letting agents.

The new funding will be used by councils to take enforcement action against those landlords who persist in breaking the law, making tenants’ lives a misery by offering inadequate or unsafe housing.

More information about the Private Rented Sector and Enforcement Grant Fund can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/housing-secretary-pledges-new-funding-to-crackdown-on-criminal-landlords

For more information about the work of the council’s private sector housing team, which is part of the Community Safety Team, log onto the website at www.darlington.gov.uk/communitysafety