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What do you know about dealing with Rogue Landlords?

Roger Barton | Tenancy Fraud & Homelessness Expert
Ahead of our upcoming, Effectively Identifying and Tackling Rogue Landlords course, we had the chance to speak to Tenancy Fraud Expert, Roger Barton and asked him what he thinks are the challenges to identifying and prosecuting rogue landlords.

Roger specialises in Housing Law, supporting witnesses, communication and interpersonal skills, particularly conflict management up to preparing cases to the Court of Appeal.

He is also particularly skilled in Homelessness and Housing Options, Health and Safety, criminal investigation procedures.

Roger Barton:

Until relatively recently I had spent the best part of two decades as a Tenancy Relations Officer in South London responding to allegations of illegal evictions and harassment by private sector rogue landlords and people associated with them.

By 2014-15, 19% of all households in the UK were private renters. This equates to 4.3 million households, and the sector is changing as corporate organisations begin to move in with new business models.  Yet the perception about the issue of rogue landlords is now worse than ever as the housing crisis deepens.

Housing charity Shelter carried out a survey of over 3,000 private renters in September 2016 and their extrapolated figures suggest

  • 64,000 renters had a landlord who cut off their utilities
  • 50,000 had their belongings thrown out of their home and the locks changed
  • 600,000 renters have had their home entered by a landlord without permission or notice being given
  • 200,000 reported having been abused, threatened or harassed by a landlord
  • 110,000 renters felt they had been treated unfairly due to their race, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

The course arranged by Understanding ModernGov will allow participants the opportunity to identify and respond to rogue landlords and develop new as well as tried and trusted remedies to suit their own particular locality.

I have trained local authority staff from all over the UK in the last few years on how to respond to allegations about rogue landlords.  Everywhere the pattern is similar, a rising level of complaints and a fractured service that is facing cuts.

  • Yet there is government funding available to support councils who intend to tackle this issue. £12 million has been made available by central government since 2011.
  • Even in areas where the problem is not huge, getting the skills to deal with it quickly can prevent an escalation of the problem in the future.
  • In areas where it is a big problem there have been some excellent initiatives which we can all learn from and adjust for our own use.

This CPD certified course will give delegates the chance to hear from experts with recent practical experience of tackling rogue landlords and how they achieved success and what the lessons are for other areas with different factors to consider.

Additionally we will consider new powers available to local authorities, including the new civil remedies available from April this year that allow a council to fine a rogue landlord up to £30,000 and use that money to help finance more enforcement action.  Given that many court fines are not paid we will also look at how councils can make sure they get the money due to them from such fines.  Additionally, we will look at how investigative powers have been strengthened by access to more helpful data through new rules since April this year.

We shall also look at a strategy which I have personally used and recommend, that involves a major partner and which in my experience stops illegal evictions in their tracks stopping homelessness occurring and preventing further harassment.

I will be chairing the conference so that all delegates will understanding the skill sets within each local authority and how an effective combination of these provides a tool for dealing with rogue landlords.

I will also ensure the conference shows how we can empower tenants to deal with harassment and illegal eviction in a way which allows a local authority to negotiate settlements that are just and fair.

I would urge anyone interested in this issue to join us for the day.

To find out more about the Effectively Identifying and Tackling Rogue Landlords course on 19.10.17 please click here or to speak to a member of the team please call 0800 542 9440.