Vast majority of local authorities ‘not using rogue landlord powers’

30 Nov 18

Councils are failing to use their power to crack down on ‘rogue landlords’, a membership organisation has found.

Nearly 90% of local authorities in England and Wales have not issued a single penalty notice on a landlord since being given the power to do so in April 2017, the Residential Landlord Association research has shown.

These notices impose fines of up to £30,000 on private landlords who do not provide housing considered to be sufficiently safe or of a decent quality. The notices are an alternative to a criminal prosecution.

According to freedom of information data from 290 authorities, collected by the RLA, 89% reported that they had not used the new powers and 53% reported that they did not have a policy in place to issue notices.

In England and Wales, 67% of local authorities had not started a single prosecution against a private landlord in 2017-18.

David Smith, RLA policy director, said: “These results show that for all the publicity around bad landlords, a large part of the fault lies with councils who are failing to use the wide range of powers they already have.”

The RLA called for a “renewed focus” on ensuring councils used the powers already available to them to tackle rogue landlords.  This included sustainable funding for enforcement departments, using council tax returns to help identify landlords and councils doing more to find and take action against criminal landlords.

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