National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)
Research lays bare failure to tackle criminal landlords
Two thirds of English councils have prosecuted no landlords for offences related to standards in or the management of private rented housing over the last three years.
The National Residential Landlords Association is warning that this failure to take action against the criminal minority brings the sector into disrepute and risks undermining further reform of the sector.
The NRLA obtained the data via Freedom of Information Act requests from 283 local authorities across England. In the three years between 2018/2019 and 2020/21, 67 per cent had not successfully prosecuted a landlord for offences related to standards in or the management of private rented housing. A further 10 per cent had secured just one successful prosecution.
Overall, just 20 local authorities were responsible for 77 per cent of all successful prosecutions. The three local authorities with the highest number of prosecutions (Southwark, Birmingham and Hull) were responsible for 38 per cent of all such action across England. Of these, Birmingham and Hull had no local landlord licencing scheme in place.
Among those councils responding, just 937 successful prosecutions of criminal landlords had taken place over the past three years. This is despite government estimates in 2015 that there may be around 10,500 rogue landlords in operation.
The new data follows research published earlier this year by the NRLA which showed that over the same three years, 53 per cent of English councils had issued no civil penalties against private landlords.
Whilst the Government has pledged to publish a white paper on reform of the private rented sector next year, the NRLA is warning that a failure to enforce the wide range of powers already available to tackle criminal and rogue landlords will critically undermine further reform.
The NRLA is calling on the Government to provide councils with the multi-year funding needed to ensure they are properly resourced to take action against criminal landlords. According to research by Unchecked UK the amount spent on housing standards by local authorities in England fell by 45 per cent between 2009 and 2019.
This must, the NRLA argues, happen alongside a requirement for councils to publish details of formal and informal enforcement activity against private landlords on an annual basis. This is vital to ensuring that they can be held to account for efforts to tackle criminal and rogue landlords.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, recently said:
“The vast majority of responsible landlords are sick and tired of a failure to root out the minority who bring the sector into disrepute. The problem is not a lack of powers, but a failure by councils to enforce them properly.
“Whilst ensuring councils have the resources they need is vital, so too is the need for them to be more transparent about the levels of enforcement they are taking. In short, local authorities need to prioritise activity to find and root out criminal landlords, ensuring it is they who meet the costs of such efforts.
“Our research illustrates also that there is no clear link between the existence of a landlord licensing scheme and levels of prosecutions. Councils again need to be open with tenants and landlords about how such schemes are ensuring standards are met in rental housing.”
Latest News from
National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)
Quarter of landlords hit by rent losses because of Covid27/01/2022 16:15:00
Almost one in four private landlords faced rental income losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Poll reveals damage of benefit cuts to renters24/01/2022 11:15:00
Almost one in ten private landlords renting to Universal Credit claimants have experienced at least one tenant having difficulties paying their rent due to benefit cuts.
Welsh Government announces Renting Homes Wales Act implementation timings14/01/2022 11:15:00
Following the news that the Welsh Government has announced its timeline for the implementation of the Renting Homes Wales Act, the NRLA yesterday published its response to this development.
Report lays bare impact of tax hikes on rental market21/12/2021 11:15:00
Over half of private landlords responding to a new survey say recent tax changes in the rental market have had a negative impact on their investment plans.
NRLA responds to new Welsh Government announcement on notice periods20/12/2021 15:33:00
In the wake of the Welsh Government's announcement confirming that the six month notice period regulations introduced following the start of the pandemic will remain in place until 24 March 2022, the NRLA has provided its response to this news.
Government plans for energy improvements in rental housing need rethink17/12/2021 11:15:00
Proposals to force landlords across the country to pay up to £10,000 to improve the energy efficiency of rental properties require a rethink, according to the national body for landlords.
Tenants with covid rent debts see arrears increase09/12/2021 16:15:00
Average rent debts still owed by renters as a result of the pandemic have increased by 41 per cent since May according to new research.
Landlords welcome plan to end homelessness02/12/2021 11:15:00
Landlords in Wales have welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new £30 million funding pot as part of a plan to end homelessness.