English councils ‘not using rogue landlord powers’

29 Mar 19

English councils are failing to use statutory powers to penalise rogue landlords in the private rented sector, a trade body has found.

Powers to claim compensation from private landlords for tenants have only been used three times in the 18 months to September 2018, according to the Residential Landlords Association.

Rent Repayment Orders allow councils to reclaim rent from private landlords for a range of offences if rent was paid through housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit. Tenants who pay their rent directly also have the same rights.

Harassment, failure to respond to Improvement Notices and seeking to evict tenants illegally are all offences that can see private landlords repaying up to 12 months worth of rent.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “Councils are failing tenants and good landlords.

“For all the talk about them needing new powers, the reality is that many are not properly using the wide range of powers they already have to drive out criminal landlords.

“Laws without proper enforcement mean nothing. It is time for councils to start acting against the crooks.”

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