Councils 'need to up game' in tackling bad landlords

COUNCILS need to "up their game" to protect tenants from rogue landlords, an industry body has argued.

The Residential Landlords Association said councils have "extensive powers" to root out the minority of landlords providing substandard accommodation - including over 400 regulations affecting the private rented sector  - yet FoI requests it published last year found that 126 out of 237 authorities in England had brought no prosecutions against landlords between 2011 and 2014.  

The RLA's call for action comes after Citizens Advice published research showing that 79 per cent of private renters with children have experienced problems with the quality of their homes. More than half (52 per cent) had experienced problems with damp or mould, 28 per cent had doors or windows that did not lock properly and one in five had faulty wiring.

In most cases, these problems were resolved within a month but in over a quarter of instances (27 per cent), it took more than a month to deal with issues. In cases where renters had spent their own time and money fixing a problem, half were not refunded by their landlord.

Alan Ward, chairman of the RLA, said: "Every tenant has the right to expect a safe, legal and secure home. While the majority of landlords provide a good service to their tenants, there are a minority who do not and who have no place in a modern rental sector.

"Councils have the powers to do something about them. What is needed is a greater will to use these powers to root out the criminal landlords once and for all."