Councils are stepping up campaigns to root out rogue landlords by putting more cases before the courts.
In Brighton, housing officers are investigating 109 cases of unlicensed shared houses (HMOs) where tenants are living in substandard and unsafe conditions in many properties. More than 30 new cases were reported in three months.
“In most cases a warning letter is enough to get an unauthorised HMO closed,” said a spokesman.
“This year 12 enforcement notices have been issued and earlier this summer, a landlord was prosecuted and had to pay £4,500 in fines and costs.”
In Sheffield, landlord Mark Cashin is due to be sentenced on October 3 after admitting two charges of harassing tenants.
Last year, Cashin, 48, was ordered to pay £29,200 in fines and costs after he was convicted of 56 housing offences.
The council has prosecuted eight landlords this year, including letting agent Wasim Khan and his company Hallam Hills Ltd.
Both were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £7,600 relating to unlicensed HMOs.
In a separate case, landlord Mark Reaney admitted letting out an unlicensed HMO and breaching shared house rules. He was conditionally discharged but must pay costs of £1,300.
Meanwhile, in the Wirral, magistrates told landlord Emma Bell and her company Denna Developments to pay £18,120 in fines and costs for ignoring a prohibition order at a flat with serious fire safety concerns.
District Judge Wendy Lloyd said: “It is not a charitable act to keep a woman in a fire trap”.
In Oxford, landlord William Reilly must repay £6,000 in housing benefits paid to his tenants after a recent conviction for running an unlicensed HMO.
The order was made by the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property).
Reilly had to pay fines and costs of £2,500 in April for renting out the unlicensed property and two fire safety offences.
In Scarborough, Ewan McFerran admitted failing to comply with improvement notices issued by the council. He must pay £9,099 in fines and costs.
The notices related to electrical work and repairs to two flats.