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Councils not using powers to tackle rogue landlords

Most local councils have failed to use new powers to crack down on landlords who do not provide acceptable housing, new research has shown.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) says that 89% of councils in England and Wales did not use the powers granted to them in April 2017 to issue civil penalties against rogue landlords who fail their tenants.

The RLA report also states that two thirds of local authorities did not bring any prosecutions against private landlords. They also found that a fifth of councils did not force landlords to carry out repairs by not issuing Improvement Notices.

Recent moves to help tackle issue

In November the government announced that the public could now access a database of rogue landlords that previously had only been accessible by central or local government. But a recent ITV and Guardian investigation revealed that no new names had been added to the database since April.

Councils also had until the end of November to apply to a £2m fund that had been earmarked to specifically deal with a minority of landlords whose tenants live in poor conditions.

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.

“Too many local authorities fall back on licensing schemes which, as this report proves, actually achieve very little except to add to the costs of the responsible landlords who register.

“Instead of policing licensing schemes, councils need to focus on finding and taking action criminal landlords.”

In London, a rogue landlord checker established by mayor Sadiq Khan that is accessible to all Londoners has already had over 1,000 entries.

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