Local councils want more powers to crack down on bad landlords who are dodging bans on letting out unsafe homes.
The Local Government Association (LGA) claims landlords convicted of housing offences are simply moving to another council area to carry on offering substandard accommodation because councils have no way of keeping track of them.
The new Housing Bill includes setting up a banned landlord database, but the LGA wants the government to extend the blacklist to landlords convicted of any housing offence.
The LGA, which represents 370 local councils in England and Wales, also wants the bill to include a tougher ‘fit and proper’ person test to screen out bad landlords and powers to take action against letting agents aiding them to rent out their properties.
“Rogue landlords are exploiting this lack of a nationwide record system and endangering tenants’ lives,” said a spokesman for the LGA.
“A national information pool of rogue landlords is urgently needed so councils can identify the serial rogue operators and target them more effectively. We are calling for a system which protects the good landlords, whose reputation is being dragged down by the bad ones.
“Councils are doing everything they can to tackle rogue landlords.”
Meanwhile, new research by Citizens Advice and the New Policy Institute calculates one in six buy to let homes are dangerous to tenants.
That compares with one in eight owner occupied homes and one in 16 social rented properties.
The report also suggests more than 500,000 children live in poor housing.
The average rent paid to live in a defective home is £650 a month.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“The private rented sector is the most expensive housing tenure but is in the worst state – consumers are paying top dollar to stay in dire homes that can threaten their lives and risk their health.
“For too long the private rented sector has been seen as a side issue in the British housing crisis debate. This is utterly wrong as the astronomical cost of buying property means increasing numbers of people and families are moving into private tenancies.”
This is long overdue. Some of us are decent landlords who do everything to the rules and regs imposed. It is so unfair to us the landlords but more to the poor people who don’t have a choice or are afraid to complain about their living conditions. I know it works both ways and there are some dreadful tenants who just trash property. It is always the decent people who suffer.
That sounds just fine…………in return can we have a database of bad tenants please.
The last quote is an extreme exaggeration of the real case! – as is recognised by the earlier, more accurate quote.
While a national register seems now necessary due to a few serial rogue landlords moving area to continue being rogue, yet again the main point, I feel, is that Councils need more inspectors so as not to let rogue landlords get away with being rogue for any length of time in the first place – & again I make the point that Councils could afford the inspectors by stopping spending on unnecessary things such as flowers on roadside safety rails, etc. – after all, councils already got rid of public loos (in Brum at least) which WERE/ARE necessary & so can easily get rid of unnecessary flowers etc!
Of course, this would benefit everyone except the villains- provided the bureaucracy and costs are limited. Many Councils are already making a lot of (admittedly much-needed) money out of this process.
A further load of misleading hyped up statistics and additional red tape, which we are all slowly drowning in.
The country’s worst social landlords were local councils. They simply passed on their housing stocks to hopefully Not For Profit management company’s and now hippo-critically propose rules and regulations which they never hoped to aspire to.
Councils seem to consistently ask for more powers. I seldom hear of them asking to give up powers. In our experience, they often do not use their existing powers to good effect and so they want more.
Councils should also provide a database for landlords to enter and access bad tenants. A two way system would be a lot farer.