The excessive enforcement of council rules on private landlords while social housing is so poorly run will be ‘the next Post Office scandal’ it’s been claimed.
A housing expert says councils are increasingly exercising what he calls “excessive enforcement and unfair licensing conditions against private sector landlords” while council-funded social housing is often found guilty of Maladministration.
.Des Taylor, a director of compliance company Landlord Licensing & Defence, says tenants are frequently treated in a substandard way by local housing authorities.l which fail to undertake repairs and deal with anti-social behaviour.
Yet some of those same authorities impose criminal liability on landlords in the private sector for matters beyond their control, he says.
He points to a recent £18,800 compensation order from the Housing Ombudsman for one council which closed a file on a tenant's repair request and did not do the repair for 11 months, despite the property having severe issues of mould and damp.
Taylor comments: “In the private rented sector, a landlord would be hounded by enforcement operatives from the council, have Abatement Notices, Improvement Notices imposed upon them, and face serious trouble and legal action if they did not act promptly or dared to challenge the council's demands, even if they were incorrect."
He continues: “The chief executives of these authorities are asleep at the wheel and incompetent, and at the same time the council staff in another department can punish private sector landlords who do the best they can, and spout lies and misinformation about landlords in the private rented sector: this is scandalous.
"How councils deal with Private Sector Landlords is the next Post Office scandal, and they will be exposed and held accountable for their actions."
Taylor also accuses councils of subcontracting tasks to firms that misadvise landlords and tenants, and of imposing licence conditions that are entrapment and unfair.
“One council advisor asked a landlord if he would consider letting the tenant sublet, which would make a HMO, even though the area is both Article 4 (Planning Restricted) and a HMO Additional Licensing area, which would entrap the landlord if he had unwittingly agreed.”