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Councils accused of inadequately policing private rental sector

Almost 60 per cent of councils across Britain have not prosecuted any landlord for any offence in the past year according to figures uncovered by a Liberal Democrat MP.

Wera Hobhouse, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, used the Freedom of Information Act to reveal that in addition to the majority of councils not prosecuting any rogue landlord in the past 12 months, more than 80 per cent prosecuted fewer than five.

Around 30 per cent of councils admitted to conducting fewer than 100 inspections in their area in the last year. 

A major exception was the London borough of Newham, which though its madatory licensing scheme and substantial resources for policing the issue, prosecuted 331 landlords. 

Brent council was second in the league table with 65 prosecutions followed by Waltham Forest with 58, Doncaster with 49, Barking and Dagenham with 35, and Wirral with 29. 

“These figures expose a stark postcode lottery when it comes to tackling rogue landlords. Thousands of tenants across the country are having to endure horrendous and unsafe living conditions, while unscrupulous landlords are breaking the rules with impunity” Hobhouse told The Guardian newspaper.

“Cash-strapped councils need more funding to inspect rented homes and bring rogue landlords to justice. Tenants should also be able to check whether their landlords have previously broken the rules through a public database. Rogue landlords have been allowed to exploit the housing crisis for too long. It’s time the government stopped dragging its feet and clamped down on them.”

Poll: Are local authorities doing a bad job in policing the PRS?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

  • jeremy clarke

    I know, said a voice from a darkened room in Westminster, let's give councils more legislation rather than less. That way we as government can say "we've done our bit, it's local councils who are failing".

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    When I have an empty flat it is redecorated, safety checked and repaired. At that point I am a good landlord and a tenant is moved in by my agent on a full letting contract.

    Five years later, when the wear and tear clauses run out, the tenant ups and leaves. This, usually with unpaid bills. I go to the flat and it is filthy, badly damaged in many ways and has unrepaired safety issues which which have not been reported or found by inspection. Technically I am then a rogue landlord. Factually, I am bloody furious but what the heck, I supposedly have a business which makes untold and never ending profits so what have I got to care about?

    When I have an empty flat it is redecorated, safety checked and repaired. At that point I am a good landlord and a tenant is moved in by my agent on a full letting contract.

    round and round we go etc.

    Tenants are no more angels than landlords. Our laws must consider this.

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