Landlords are calling for the next Government to conduct a review of the enforcement of regulations in the private rental sector.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) believe that tenants are being let down by a lack of proper enforcement of the powers that already exist to resolve poor housing conditions.
Last week, Liverpool City Council revealed plans for the launch of the country’s biggest landlord licensing scheme.
However, this arrives as the Council is cutting its environment health services, which is responsible for the scheme, by around 25%.1
A study from the Local Government Information Unit and Management Journal has found that 54% of local authorities think that they are in danger of being unable to fund their statutory services.1
In 2013, the cross-party Communities and Local Government Select Committee report on the private rental sector cautioned that it was “concerned about reports of reductions in staff who have responsibility for enforcement and tenancy relations, and who have an important role in making approaches to raising standards successful.”
The same report also warned: “The police are sometimes unaware of their responsibilities in dealing with reports of illegal eviction.”1
The RLA is now writing to all political parties to ask them to commit to undertaking a review of the capacity and capabilities of local authorities, the courts, the police, and Trading Standards to impose the powers they already have.
Chairman of the RLA, Alan Ward, says: “The RLA is fully supportive of regulations that protect both tenants and good landlords. But it cannot be right that regulations are not being enforced properly. This lets tenants and good landlords down.
“The reality is that we can regulate all we like, but without proper enforcement, then it becomes meaningless. Whilst debates on the private rented sector will intensify as we approach polling day, we need to think carefully about what can and cannot be enforced.
“It’s time to end the false belief that regulations in themselves will help solve the problems in the sector. Instead, we need a smarter approach to root out the minority of crooks who cause misery for tenants and bring the sector into disrepute.”1