An organisation representing councils wants a government database covering all housing-related convictions to deter rogue landlords switching from one area to another to avoid being licensed.
The Local Government Association, which represents over 370 councils in England and Wales, says “serial criminal landlords” who are being blocked from operating by some boroughs running licensing schemes may be moving to other postcodes.
The government is introducing a database listing landlords who are subject to banning orders, as part of the Housing and Planning bill going through Parliament, but councils want this expanded to include private landlords with other housing-related convictions.
A statement from the LGA says it also wants a much tougher "fit and proper person" test - a screening process which is designed to weed out rogue landlords - and additional unspecified measures against letting agents “so the bad operators can be booted out.”
The LGA says it can easily take 16 months to prosecute a criminal landlord and in almost three quarters of cases the average fine is £5,000 or less.
"Councils are doing everything they can to tackle rogue landlords. However, they are being let down by the current system, which fails to account for the seriousness of the situation” claims LGA spokesman Peter Box.