Tenants and good landlords are being failed by a system unable to root out criminal landlords, the results of a freedom of information request show.
Analysis of the FOI results from 290 local authorities found that two thirds of councils in England and Wales brought no prosecutions against private landlords in 2017/18.
Published by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the results also reveal that nearly a fifth of councils didn’t even issue any Improvement Notices, which order a landlord to carry out certain repairs or improvements to a property.
Nearly 90% of councils also did not use new powers to issue civil penalties against landlords failing to provide acceptable housing in 2017/18. The powers were introduced in April 2017.
According to David Smith, policy director for the RLA, these results show that councils are failing to protect tenants by dealing rogue landlords.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’