A proposal to tackle rogue landlords won widespread support in the House of Commons recently. Labour MP Steve McCabe’s Protection of Family Homes Bill is designed to provide new powers to tackle cowboy builders and landlords who ignore their responsibilities towards their neighbours.
The bill was put forward after Selly Oak MP McCabe received repeated complaints about landlords who were extending their properties without regard for neighbouring homes – in one instance, a landlord had built an extension that actually touched the next house. “I am pleased to have the backing from colleagues from across the house and the country,” he commented. “It is clear this is a problem that affects many parts of the country and my bill will introduce some reasonable and sensible measures to tackle rogue landlords and cowboy builders who think they can get away with building without permission.”
The bill, which was sponsored by eight Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative MPs, includes a range of measures to tackle increasingly common problems:
the Department for Communities and Local Government would be required to clarify guidance on when enforcement action should be taken
right of appeal to an independent body would be introduced in cases when planning authorities decide not to take action against a breach in planning law
extensions built under permitted development rights would still need to be independently checked against building regulations to ensure their safety
planning authorities would be given new powers to fine developers who breach planning law.
Squeezed by the reduction in tax rebates and recent changes to stamp duty, landlords are seeking to maximise revenues. As a result, some are falling foul of the law – either intentionally, or accidentally, due to their unfamiliarity with shifting legislation. Anyone unaware of their responsibilities as a landlord or concerned about planning regulations should contact a qualified solicitor.
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