TWO East Lancashire authorities have been given financial backing to help tackle criminal landlords and letting agents.

Rossendale Council will receive £24,000 and Burnley Council will get £5,600 of a £280,000 North West grant fund from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the money would help to empower councils to stamp out exploitative landlords and encourage good landlords to thrive.

Mr Jenrick MP said:  “This Government will deliver a better deal for renters. 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.

“Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure and the funding announced for the North West will strengthen councils’ powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector for renters across the country.” 

The grants will support a range of projects to enable councils to make the best use of the powers they have to force landlords to make necessary improvements to properties, including civil penalties and banning orders for the worst offenders. 

These projects include trialling innovative ideas, sharing best practice and targeted enforcement where we know landlords shirk their responsibilities.

Rossendale Council leader Alyson Barnes said: “Any financial help we can get to help tackle criminal landlords has to be welcomed. It is clearly an issue for us and that’s why we have been successful with our bid.

“In comes on the back of the positive news we had at the back end of last year in terms of managing to find accommodation for those registering as homeless within our borough.”

Burnley Council leader Cllr Charlie Briggs said: “Every little helps when it comes to tackling criminal landlords. Anything that can help stop the most vulnerable from being exploited can only be a good thing.”

There are more than 4.5m households in the private rented sector in England, with surveys saying 82 per cent of renters are satisfied with their accommodation.