Environment, Safety and Standards Press Releases

It’s time to root out criminal landlords

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The RLA wants councils to commit to rooting out the criminal landlords giving the sector a bad name, following the publication of the University of York’s report on private rented housing today.

The association, which contributed to the report, said it is time local authorities showed strong political leadership and used powers already at their disposal to tackle the ‘rogues’.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association said that all though satisfactions rates are high, according to the English Housing Survey 2016/17, there is still room for improvement.

He also asked for a root and branch review of all regulations affecting the sector.

He said: “We welcome today’s report which the RLA contributed to.

“Whilst the Government’s own data shows that 84 per cent of private tenants are satisfied with their accommodation, no one should have to face living in sub-standard accommodation.

“With RLA research showing that there are well over 100 Acts of Parliament regulating the sector, the problem is with the enforcement of these laws.

“We are calling on councils to provide the political leadership needed to use the extensive powers they have to find and root out the minority of landlords who are criminals and have no place in the market.”

He  continued: “We agree with concerns about the complexity of the legislation surrounding the market. Tenants, landlords and local authorities all need to clearly understand their roles, responsibilities and the powers available to tackle poor housing. For many this has become difficult to achieve.

“A root and branch review of all regulations affecting the sector needs to be carried out to understand if they are achieving what was originally intended. There is no point passing new laws and regulations if the existing ones are not being enforced properly.”

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.


  • Also, there is no point on calling on local authorities to act against rogue landlords if the staff they are using are poorly trained (not always the case, but I am aware of several incidents through my role as a landlord advisor) and don’t know the difference between a decent landlord who might unwittingly be breaking some small rules, and a criminal who is purely out to exploit those they let to.

  • Whilst I agree with minimum standards, the government and councils also need a root and branch overhaul of the benefits system and in particular in relation to benefit tenants. I am a landlord with a selective licence which exceeds current legislation with a benefit tenant who is fine at the moment.

    BUT when a benefit tenant ignores letters from the council and is put in sanctions, the landlord often does not know about it until the tenant is over two months in arrears. At this point, it is an uphill battle to clear the arrears.

    The landlord is put in this position because the councils outsource many of the processes and refuse to contact the landlord directly – landlords can help councils sort things like paperwork quickly reducing their exposure from tenants.

    Whilst I agree, root out the rogue landlords, I also think tenants should have consequences for their actions – for example, landlords should continue to receive rents directly from the council (so not to make the tenant homeless) but the tenant should be made to carry out tasks in the community as a way of paying back the council for the extra work they cause.

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