Law to pro­tect ten­ants fails to stop rogue land­lords

The Guardian Weekly - - Global Report -

Con­victed UK land­lords who have been ruled un­fit to rent out their prop­er­ties are con­tin­u­ing to op­er­ate by ex­ploit­ing loop­holes in the law that is sup­posed to pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble ten­ants.

Rogue own­ers are col­lect­ing rents – of­ten funded by tax­pay­ers via hous­ing ben­e­fit – de­spite be­ing con­victed of hous­ing of­fences and fail­ing to pass the “fit and proper” per­son tests re­quired by hous­ing leg­is­la­tion in Eng­land and Wales, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Guardian and ITV News has found.

Be­cause of the way the law is writ­ten, this is usu­ally per­fectly le­gal. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion also dis­cov­ered that lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have failed to make a sin­gle en­try on to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s new rogue land­lord data­base in the six months since its launch. The con­tents of the data­base are be­ing kept se­cret, and the gov­ern­ment said it was “not in the pub­lic in­ter­est” to ex­plain why.

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