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'Simply not enough' - councillor derides £44k fund for rogue landlords

PUBLISHED: 15:05 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:05 03 January 2020

North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Butikofer has hit out at a government funding package aimed at tackling rogue landlords. Photo: Liberal Democrats.

North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Butikofer has hit out at a government funding package aimed at tackling rogue landlords. Photo: Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrats

A council leader has hit out at a government funding package aimed at tackling rogue landlords and said it would "not come close" to solving the problem.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) is set to get £44,000 as part of a £4.5m injection of central government funding to crack down on criminal landlords in the East of England.

The money, announced by the Ministry of Housing on Friday, January 3 will go to nine councils across the region and is intended to help stamp out exploitative private renting practices.

But the leader of NNDC, Sarah Butikofer, has said the money is "simply not enough" and called on the government to help areas of the country affected by high levels of holiday and second homes.

READ MORE: 'Weak, divided': Council leadership slammed by £1k-a-day consultant

Liberal Democrat Mrs Butikofer, who has led the council since 2018, said: "This level of funding is simply not enough to make any tangible difference to the challenges of the private rental sector in north Norfolk.

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"The housing team have long been aware of many of the key issues this funding is intended to target and will use this funding to further those initiatives: working with vulnerable residents, young people leaving care, and older residents with specific needs."

She added: "The best way to deter rogue landlords would be to prosecute them, but £44, 000 will not come close to covering the costs of such an action.

"Since the introduction of Universal Credit the number of landlords prepared to take benefits tenants has shrunk dramatically. The key issue for us is the very limited amount of private rentals available for long term let due to the very significant amount of holiday lets.

"Until the government is prepared to help communities impacted by the holiday property rental markets so that the stock available to rent increases, landlords have far too much stacked in their favour."

READ MORE: Revealed: how almost 4,000 Norfolk homes sit empty

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: "Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure and the funding will strengthen councils' powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector across the country." 

The other councils being funded are: Basildon Borough Council; Bedford Borough Council; Broxbourne Borough Council; Dacorum Borough Council; East Suffolk Council; Tendring District Council; Thurrock Council; and West Suffolk Council.

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