Government unveils new standards for private rented sector
The government is to introduce new regulations and licensing requirements to boost standards for private sector tenants.
Under the new system, landlords renting properties in England occupied by at least five people from two or more separate households will have to be licensed.
This means councils will be able to make sure only rooms that adhere to new rules outlining minimum size requirements for bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation are used for sleeping.
The government believes the change will affect about 160,000 houses and help to tackle overcrowding in some properties.
Ministers also plan to change the rules to prevent people convicted of certain criminal offences from letting out properties.
From April 2018, a person with convictions for crimes including stalking and burglary can be added to a database of rogue landlords and therefore barred from renting to tenants.
Landlords will also be responsible for ensuring their local council's rules on refuse and recycling are being adhered to.
The government said this will benefit wider communities who are unhappy with living close to "shoddily maintained properties without proper bins, dumped rubbish and anti-social behaviour".
This follows a number of other government measures designed to boost safety and standards in the private sector, including allocating £12 million of funding so councils can take enforcement action in hotspot areas.
Housing and planning minister Alok Sharma said: "Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home.
"Through a raft of new powers we are giving councils the further tools they need to crack down [on] rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good."