Housing minister Alok Sharma has set out how, subject to parliamentary clearance, landlords renting properties in England occupied by five or more people, from two or more separate households will need to be licensed.
The move, affecting around 160,000 houses, will mean councils can take further action to crack down on the minority of unscrupulous landlords renting sub-standard and overcrowded homes.
Government has also set out details of criminal offences which will automatically ban someone from being a landlord. From April next year, someone convicted of offences such as burglary and stalking can be added to the database of rogue landlords and be barred from renting properties.
These latest measures build on government action to date to drive up safety and standards in the private rented sector. This includes bringing in fines of up to £30,000 for dodgy landlords, protections for tenants from revenge evictions and £12m funding for councils to take enforcement action in hotspot areas.
Housing and planning minister, Alok Sharma, said: “Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home. But some are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes.
“Enough is enough and so I’m putting these rogue landlords on notice – shape up or ship out of the rental business.
“Through a raft of new powers we are giving councils the further tools they need to crack down on these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good.”
The move will also benefit wider communities fed up with living near shoddily maintained properties without proper bins, dumped rubbish and anti social behaviour. Landlords will be held responsible for making sure the council’s rules on refuse and recycling are followed.
New rules will also come into force setting minimum size requirements for bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation to prevent overcrowding.
As part of the licencing requirements, local councils will be able to make sure only rooms meeting the standard are used for sleeping.