BOURNEMOUTH and Poole council chiefs have been handed more than £130,000 in a bid to tackle rogue landlords.

The two councils have been given £134,000 from the government following a joint bid to help fund work targeting landlords who are guilty of not managing their properties properly and protecting tenants.

Cllr Robert Lawton, Bournemouth’s cabinet member for housing, said: “More needs to be done to clamp down on those landlords that are known to be operating across the area, who are sub-letting poorly-managed and often overcrowded properties to vulnerable tenants and foreign nationals.

“This successful bid will mean that we can increase our targeted work to raise standards in the private rented sector and where necessary we will prosecute those landlords flouting the law.”

The cash funding will be used to:

Gather further intelligence on the rogue landlords to determine how they are operating.

Take action against those landlords whose properties are poorly managed in terms of property conditions and where landlords treat tenants badly, such as illegal evictions or not returning deposits.

Take formal action, including prosecuting the worst landlords to improve conditions for tenants.

Raise awareness of how tenants can access support and advice about their rights when renting a property and encourage those who might be afraid to complain, to seek help.

Cllr Karen Rampton, portfolio holder for health, wellbeing and housing at Borough of Poole, added: “Landlords that are acting in this way are exploiting vulnerable tenants who are unaware of their rights.

“This funding will provide additional resources to help fully investigate these complex cases enabling us to prosecute the worst offenders.

“Action such as this will help promote awareness for vulnerable tenants and their rights and also send out a warning to other landlords who think it is acceptable to operate in this way.”

There are around 19,000 privately-rented properties across Bournemouth and about 9,300 in Poole.

Both Bournemouth Borough Council and Borough of Poole signed up to charity Shelter’s ‘Evict Rogue Landlords’ campaign last summer, pledging their commitment to tackling rogue landlords in the area.

Tenants concerned about the condition or management of their rented home can contact 01202 451083 or email in Bournemouth and 01202 633995 or email in Poole

For other housing advice, including illegal evictions and withheld deposits, tenants can call Shelter’s advice line on 08445 151401 or 01202 451467 in Bournemouth and 01202 633804 in Poole, asking for housing options.