A FIVE-figure funding deal has been struck to help Oxford City Council hone in on rogue landlords.

The authority has been awarded £40,492 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to help identify irresponsible landlords.

It is one of 50 councils across the country to receive a cut of a £2.4m pot, which was created to fund digital tools to protect tenants.

Linda Smith, the council's deputy leader and board member for leisure and housing, said: "I'm delighted that we have been awarded this funding, which will improve our use of data sources to identify unlicensed HMOs and accessing the tenancy deposit database to increase our targeting of rogue landlords.

"The council believes everyone has the right to live in a decent home that is safe, warm and secure.

"It is well documented that sub-standard homes have a generally negative impact on the health of the people who live in them - there are clear links between damp, cold homes and the incidence of illnesses, such as asthma, respiratory disease, heart attacks and strokes.

"A home may also contain significant hazards which increase the risk of harm from falls, fire, scalds, electric shock and asbestos.

"We must tackle poor quality housing to deliver wider benefits for the health of residents and the quality of the city environment, and this extra funding will boost our ability to work across teams within the council to tackle rogue landlords more effectively."

The council's counter-fraud and enforcement teams will mainly use the cash to enhance existing data matching technology, to identify suspected unlicensed houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and target inspections.

As part of the funding commitment, the council will share best practice and examples of its approaches with other local authorities.

In Oxford, an estimated 1 in 5 of the resident population live in an HMO.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler said: "Everyone has the right to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are not giving their tenants this security.

"This extra funding will further boost councils’ ability to root out rogue landlords and ensure that poor-quality homes in the area are improved, making the housing market fairer for everyone."