News article published on: 20th June 2012
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has responded to Shelter’s five point plan for tackling“rogue landlords” and in doing so has called on local authorities to more effectively root out those who flout their obligations under the law.
The RLA say that according to the Government’s English Housing Survey 84% of the over 8 million private rented sector (PRS) tenants are satisfied with their tenancies, which is a higher satisfaction rating than tenants living in social housing.
The RLA have pointed out that out of the 86,000 complaints which Shelter received, only 2% originated from PRS tenancies.
Although representing landlords, the RLA condemns bad landlords and labels those who breach regulations controlling standards not just as rogue but as criminal who give a bad name to the “vast majority of landlords who offer a decent standard of housing and management”.
The RLA states that the problem of bad or criminal landlords is that local authorities are eager to meet the Government’s targets to licence landlords, concentrating on checking landlords who are compliant rather than those who deliberately seek to evade inspection. According to the RLA this is why councils brought only 270 prosecutions against landlords in 2011.
Shelter’s five point plan, which the RLA has labelled as emotional and clichéd calls for:
- Tougher sentencing for criminal landlords: increasing the maximum penalty for ignoring a court to improve conditions from £5,000 to £20,000,
- A rogue landlord prosecution fund: earmarking money to help councils get tough on landlords blighting their area,
- New protection for brave tenants: safeguard tenants from being evicted in retaliation for whistleblowing
- An online landlord conviction database: a new website listing all convicted landlords to help tenants avoid criminal landlords.
Instead of the above the RLA have proposed the four points below to protect both law abiding tenants and landlords:
- A culture change in town-halls to work with the PRS as a responsible supplier of housing
- Wider use of landlord accreditation schemes to promote self-regulations allowing councils to focus on criminal landlords
- Greater education for tenants to enable them to properly hold their landlords to account
- Fair-play for landlords with faster dispute resolution over non-payments of rent and tenant choice for the receipt of housing benefits.
How effective either of these proposals will be remains to be seen. However, if you are either a landlord or tenant and currently are experiencing property issues there is legal action which you can take and which our property team at Osbornes Solicitors can help you with.
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