Campaigns Regulation and Enforcement

Councils need to use existing powers better

letting agent fees
Dr Tom Simcock
Written by Dr Tom Simcock

Councils across the country need to up their game to protect tenants from a minority of landlords providing sub-standard accommodation.

The call comes as Citizens Advice today reports that, whilst many landlords responded swiftly to concerns raised about standards, a minority are still taking too long to resolve problems.

With more than 140 Acts of Parliament, containing over 400 regulations affecting the private rented sector, the RLA is calling on councils to use the extensive powers they already have to root out the criminal landlords who have no place in the sector.

A RLA Freedom of Information request last year, with responses from 237 councils in England and Wales, found that 126 had brought no prosecutions against landlords between 2011 and 2014.

Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association commented:

“Every tenant has the right to expect a safe, legal and secure home. Whilst the majority of landlords provide a good service to their tenants, there are a minority who do not, and who have no place in a modern rental sector.”

“Councils have the powers to do something about them. What is needed is a greater will to use these powers to root out the criminal landlords once and for all.”

Further information:
  • The RLA provides members with free documents and guides to help them stay up-to-date with the latest legislation
  • The RLA provides training to Landlords to inform and educate on the best practices in the sector
  • This includes online training on the principles of letting – an ideal course for those starting out as a landlord in the sector

About the author

Dr Tom Simcock

Dr Tom Simcock

Tom is the Senior Researcher for the RLA and leads the RLA’s research lab; the Private renting Evidence, Analysis and Research Lab (PEARL). His expertise lies in researching change in society, public policy and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Tom’s research on housing has received national media coverage, featuring on the front page of The Times, has influenced government policy making, and has been cited in debates in the House of Commons, House of Lords and by the London Mayor.


  • Hi Tom,

    Do you have a list of the acts of parliament, regulations etc. that both directly affect landlords and, more importantly, that councils can use to deal with problem landlords?

    • Hi Luke,
      We do have a list of the different regulations that affect the sector. We are currently producing a new research report from our Research Lab PEARL that demonstrates the different legislation, which we will hopefully be able to share soon. In regards to Local Councils, there are a number of tools they can use to enforce standards in the sector. The principle tool is called the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS), and the council can then enforce with enforcement notices, prosecutions, civil penalities up to £30,000, rent repayment orders, and banning orders. We have an in-depth guide on our website here:
      if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact our Landlord Advice Team or the Policy Team.
      Kind regards,

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