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Rogue Landlords

Volume 603: debated on Monday 14 December 2015

The Housing and Planning Bill contains measures to tackle and go further with rogue landlords than anything we have had before. We want to rule out rogue landlords who rent out substandard accommodation and to do all we can to ensure that tenants have a good and safe environment. Our proposals include a database of rogue landlords and letting agents, banning orders for serious or repeat offenders, a tougher fit and proper person test, extending rent repayment orders and introducing civil penalties.

Over the past five years, despite the poor quality of many privately rented homes, rents have soared and they are now a fifth higher than they were in 2010. Why are the Government not taking any steps in their new Housing and Planning Bill to help private renters with these soaring rents?

If the hon. Lady looks at the private rented sector over the past five years, she will see that its increases are, on average, lower than the increases in the social housing sector, hence our reason for the changes in the Budget. We are going a lot further than ever before in cracking down on rogue landlords, whom everyone across the House would like to see put out of business.

An important part of protecting tenants is ensuring that landlords understand their obligations and that tenants understand the remedies that are available. What action is the Department taking to ensure that tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities?

My hon. Friend makes a good point. Apart from the extra measures that we are taking in the Housing and Planning Bill, in which we will do all that we can to publicise to tenants what they need to be aware of so that they know what to expect, we have also published a guide for tenants, so they can clearly understand their rights and what to expect from a good quality landlord. We should be clear that the majority of landlords offer an excellent service and that tenants are happy with them.