Vulnerable tenants need greater protection says Committee

A Government Committee is calling for greater legal protection for vulnerable tenants to help restore the balance of power in the private sector.

In its report, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee have proposed a number of measures to be introduced to the private sector, with an aim to help empower tenants to pursue complaints about maintenance and repairs in their homes.

Stating that some tenants are often unwilling to complain about the condition of their homes, the report calls for greater penalties for the worst landlords, as well as awarding local authorities the power to confiscate properties should their business model rely on the exploitation of vulnerable tenants.

Though the Committee acknowledged the recent introduction of legislation which sets out to strengthen tenant protection, it found that local authorities have insufficient resources to enforce these measures.

MP and Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee Clive Betts stated:

“The imbalance in power in the private rented sector means vulnerable tenants often lack protection from unscrupulous landlords who can threaten them with retaliatory rent rises and eviction if they complain about unacceptable conditions in their homes.

“Local authorities need the power to levy more substantial fines against landlords and in the case of the most serious offenders, ultimately be able to confiscate their properties.

“Such powers are however meaningless if they are not enforced and at the same time councils need more resources to carry out effective prosecutions.

“Stronger powers, harsher fines and a new commitment to cracking down on unscrupulous practices will go some way towards rebalancing the sector and protecting the many thousands of vulnerable residents who have been abused and harassed by a landlord.”

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