Law News

Improve council enforcement instead of introducing more landlord legislations, says RLA

Em Morley - November 4, 2019

Since 2010, there has been a 32% increase in laws that affect landlords in the UK.

According to a new analysis by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the total number of regulations affecting landlords has now reached 156. This is up from 118 when the Conservative-led coalition government came into power.

The RLA is warning that no improvement has been made to the enforcement of action against criminal landlords, despite this increase in legislation. Many councils are failing to properly use the powers given to them for such situations.

There is also previous research from the RLA that found in 2017/18 two thirds of councils had not commenced any prosecutions against private landlords. It was during the same year that 89% of councils told the RLA they had not used new powers to issue Civil Penalties. Fines of up to £30,000 can be issued to private landlords for a range of offences. 53% of councils did not have a policy in place to properly use this power.

The RLA is now calling on all political parties in the upcoming election to commit to improving enforcement of the powers already available, instead of introducing new legislation.

In its manifesto for the General Election, the RLA proposes scrapping licensing schemes which serve only to penalise good landlords whilst enabling the criminals to operate under the radar. Councils should instead be using the wide range of data already available to them. This includes using council tax, benefits, tenancy deposit and electoral roll information to identify landlords. It needs to be backed by a multi-year funding settlement from central government to properly resource enforcement.

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association: “Removing criminal landlords from the sector will only be achieved if councils have the resources and the will to properly use the wide range of powers they already have. 

“Piling more regulations onto the sector which will continue not to be properly enforced is meaningless and serves only to put off good landlords from providing the homes to rent we need. It is time for smarter enforcement, not more regulation.”