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Local authorities "failing to use powers to tackle criminal landlords"

Tenants and landlords are “being let down by local authorities who are failing to use powers to tackle criminal landlords”, the Residential Landlords Association has claimed.

The RLA’s comments came after research from charity Shelter suggested that more than one million renters (12.9%) had suffered at the hands of their landlord.

Shelter’s findings – based on a survey of 3,200+ tenants carried out by YouGov – indicated that:

  • The equivalent of over 64,000 renters reported that a landlord had cut off their utilities without their consent and almost 50,000 said their belongings had been thrown out of their home and the locks changed
  • Over 600,000 renters have had their home entered by a landlord without permission or notice being given
  • Over 200,000 reported having been abused, threatened or harassed by a landlord
  • Over 110,000 renters felt they had been treated unfairly due to their race, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

Shelter warned that “a minority of rogue landlords are causing misery to the lives of renters by committing these civil and criminal offences”, adding that renters often did not know what their rights were.

Commenting on the research, the RLA said the only way criminal landlords could be tackled was if local authorities used the enforcement powers they have to take them to court.

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the Association said: “Figures from the English Housing Survey show that 82% of tenants are happy with their rented accommodation, but we recognise that there are landlords who do not abide by the law.

“The RLA is fully supportive of regulations that protect tenants. However, the reality is that we can regulate all we like but without proper enforcement it becomes meaningless.

“Tenants are being let down by local authorities who are failing to use the powers available to them to tackle the criminal minority.”

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