NEW funds to tackle criminal landlords are not enough, argues a leading landlord body.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) was speaking following confirmation today of the 48 councils to share in the Government’s £5 million fund to tackle criminal landlords.
Whilst the RLA welcomes efforts to root out criminal landlords it is arguing that the money announced is not sufficient to tackle the minority of landlords who cause misery for their tenants.
It is also warning that the funds could be wasted by local authorities because of a system that fails to free up local authorities to target the hard to find criminals.
In 2014, Professor Michael Ball of Reading University warned that the costs of enforcement were being borne by good landlords at the expense of criminals.
The RLA is pointing to a ground breaking scheme in Liverpool as the way to go. A recently announced partnership between the RLA, Liverpool Council and other industry bodies will free up the council to target the hard to find criminals, giving good landlords a more cost effective option of robust self-regulation. The scheme is known as co-regulation.
To support this, the RLA is calling on the Government to use the Housing and Planning Bill, currently going through Parliament, to compel councils to ask tenants for details of their landlord on council tax registration forms. This would make it much harder for criminal landlords to evade scrutiny.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association said:
“The new funding averages £80,000 per council – hardly a great encouragement.
“Without fundamental changes to the way that regulations are enforced, local authorities will fail to find and prosecute the criminals who pretend to be landlords.
“Though a minority, they cause misery for tenants and have no place in a modern rental market.”