Money earmarked for Yorkshire councils to tackle rogue landlords dubbed 'puny' by Labour

Government cash to be handed to Yorkshire councils to help tackle rogue landlords in the region will be used on body worn cameras and training for enforcement officers - but the amount given as been described as “puny” by Labour.

More than 100 local authorities across England have been awarded a share of the cash to crack down on criminal landlords and letting agents.

The scheme, the funding for which was first announced in November, will tackle landlords who flout the law by offering inadequate or unsafe housing.

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But although £4m was announced nationally, the sums given to individual councils have been criticised, with councils such as Hull City Council receiving just £25,000, which will be spent on body-worn cameras for officers investigating overcrowding, potential modern slavery and housing hazards.

Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne and Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey. Photo: JPI MediaLabour MP for Wentworth and Dearne and Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey. Photo: JPI Media
Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne and Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey. Photo: JPI Media

It will also go towards landlord training and the production of advisory information for landlords and tenants.

The total amount given across Yorkshire and the Humber is £220,000.

Wentworth and Dearne MP and Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: "This puny commitment is a drop in the ocean compared to the cuts that councils have faced since 2010.

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"The truth is that the Conservatives have gifted rogue landlords the freedom to flourish by cutting council budgets, weakening their powers and refusing to legislate to drive up standards.

"Renters need a new legal charter of rights with longer tenancies, new minimum standards and rent controls to make renting more affordable."

But Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the funding will help "deliver a better deal for renters".

He said: "It's completely unacceptable that a minority of unscrupulous landlords continue to break the law and provide homes which fall short of the standards we rightly expect - making lives difficult for hard-working tenants who just want to get on with their lives.

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"Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure, and the funding announced today will strengthen councils' powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector for renters across the country."

Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Homes and Safer Communities at City of York Council, said: “As the lead council for this regional bid from 21 local authorities, we can develop and deliver a regionally-recognised qualification for good private landlords and support them to provide decent, well-maintained homes.

“The funding will also train a further 128 enforcement officers across the region, giving them the investigative skills needed to tackle landlords who rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation.

“By empowering officers, working together and sharing best practice, we can crack down on criminal practice and work with landlords to improve the homes they let.”

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John Black, Portfolio Holder Neighbourhoods and Housing on Hull City Council added: “We are pleased that the Government has recognised our work in the private rented sector and supported us with funding to further improve the support and training we can offer private landlords, so that together we can ensure standards are improved for the benefit of tenants.”

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “We welcome efforts to crack down on unscrupulous landlords as everyone deserves decent housing. As a council we are working hard to raise standards in the private rented sector and take action when necessary.

“We have applied for funding but have not yet received notification of what, if anything, we have been awarded. Should our application be successful the funds will be used to improve the knowledge and skills of housing enforcement officers, teach landlords about their legal responsibilities and discourage non-compliant landlords and agents from operating in the private rented sector.

“The funds would also help us improve the financial sustainability of enforcement services and look at alternative enforcement approaches.”