Local authorities accused of failing to use existing powers to target rogue landlords

Councils in England have been accused of failing to use powers to tackle rogue landlords in the private rented sector.

A response to a parliamentary question this week on the use of rent repayment orders (RROs) revealed that just three have been issued by local authorities to claw back Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit paid through rent in the 18 months to September 2018.

In contrast, 18 RROs have been issued by tenants from when they gained powers to issue the order in April 2017 and September 2018.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “Councils are failing tenants and good landlords.

“For all the talk about them needing new powers, the reality is that many are not properly using the wide range of powers they already have to drive out criminal landlords.

“Laws without proper enforcement mean nothing. It is time for councils to start acting against the crooks.”

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  1. DarrelKwong43

    111% agree

  2. Will2

    Oh how gullible of me;  I thought the lies told by councils that licensing was needed to generate income to carry out enforcement. And after all it turns out to just be another money generator for ROGUE councils!

  3. jeremy1960

    Nothing surprises me about local councils inefficiency.

    The simple fact is that they cannot be bothered , our local council merged with neighbouring councils to make themselves more efficient.  So far our council tax has increased,  they have given themselves a really unoriginal name and appointed a CEO on a salary of over £300,000 a year. As for grass roots level, the TSO never responds to complaints about agents who haven’t displayed fees for years, cannot wait to start reporting agents for not having CMP next week that’s sure to make someone jump into action and send an email!

  4. Woodentop

    Are they inefficient or is the hype over PRS actually nothing but hype?  
    My local council advised me some time ago that nearly all of the PRS in its area is not an issue, just the occasional bad egg who is soon brought into line once they have had a warning notice, which prevents further action. I have no doubt there are tougher challenges in other areas (cities come to mind) but as a nation?
    Food for thought, look at how many properties are in the PRS (6.5 million). Look at the number of landlord prosecutions (?), the number of complaints with TPO (2017 = 2,212) and while your at it, look at the number of £m’s losses to landlords. Where does the real problem sit? 

  5. Richard Tacagni

    Councils can only apply for an RRO where a relevant offence has been committed and the rent is paid via housing benefit or universal credit.

    The far bigger financial and compliance risk is tenant RRO applications which can demand repayment of up to 12 months rent. These are becoming far more common and councils help help tenants to apply. I’m currently assisting agents with several such claims, so can confirm the risk is real!


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