William Eichler 22 January 2019

Whitehall must stop ‘rogue landlords’ receiving public money, council says

Whitehall must stop ‘rogue landlords’ receiving public money, council says  image

Brent Council has urged the Government to stop rogue landlords who fail ‘fit and proper’ tests from receiving housing benefit.

The London council’s call comes after a Guardian and ITV News investigation in October revealed that banned landlords were continuing to rent out properties.

Bernard McGowan, a Brent landlord who owns £30m worth of property, was convicted six times under the Housing Act between 2014 and 2017, and failed the council’s ‘fit and proper’ test in 2015.

McGowan was barred from directly renting out houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) or any home in eight of the borough’s wards where landlords specifically require a licence.

Despite this ban, McGowan continued to receive public money. Since the start of 2015, he was paid nearly £1m in housing benefit from Brent.

Brent council yesterday called on the secretary of state for housing James Brokenshire to change the law to prevent rogue landlords from being paid housing benefit if they don't meet licensing criteria.

‘It's completely unacceptable that landlords who flout the rules and cause misery for thousands of tenants across the country receive housing benefit. Today, I have written to the minister urging him to act on this issue,’ said Cllr Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform.

‘We need the law on our side to help us protect tenants' rights and drive up standards in the private rented sector.

‘Last week, Brent received a grant of over £100,000, which we'll be using to provide further support for private tenants in the battle against rogue landlords. But we need Government to make legislative change so that we have all the tools we need.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Looked After Children and Vulnerable Young People

Enfield London Borough Council
Up to £89,319
 This is an exciting opportunity to lead all the services that support Enfield’s children in care and care leavers. Enfield (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Enfield London Borough Council

Head of Communities

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
to £61,751 (pay award pending)
We are looking for an innovative and knowledgeable senior professional to join our leadership team with strong experience of working in communities... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Economic Development Officer (Town Centres)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878 per annum
The Economic Development Officer (Town Centres) post forms part of the Council’s Business Focus team who provide help directly to businesses. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Educational Psychologist

Camden London Borough Council
£44,131 - £53,34
The ideal candidates will have an excellent understanding of psychological frameworks and their application in... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Economic Development Officer

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878
Are you interested in a challenge and want to help shape the future of North West Leicestershire? Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue