Shelter doesn’t go far enough on criminal landlords

Written by RLA

The Residential Landlords’ Association is today accusing the homeless charity, Shelter, of not going far enough to tackle criminal landlords…

 The Residential Landlords’ Association is today accusing the homeless charity, Shelter, of not going far enough to tackle criminal landlords.

As the charity launches research into the effect of criminal landlords on the health of children and families, the Residential Landlords’ Association is calling on Shelter to stop referring to “rogues” and call a ‘spade a spade’ by declaring them criminal landlords that should be rooted out of the sector altogether.

Commenting on the launch of the research, Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords’ Association said: “The RLA remains concerned that though in a minority, some families are having to face the prospect of living in sub-standard accommodation that is bad for their health. We all share a desire to see this dealt with. However, whilst it is easy to highlight stories of bad practice and poor accommodation, little is said about the 84 per cent of tenants who are satisfied with their accommodation, a larger proportion than the social sector.”

Alan continued: “With RLA research showing that there are over 400 individual regulations affecting the sector, why would any more have any discernible impact?

Under the RLA’s plans, criminal landlords would be rightly hounded out of the sector by local authorities freed up to target those operating under the radar. All responsible landlords would be members of an industry-run accreditation scheme, based on a single set of national standards. Tenants would also be empowered to better hold their landlords to account.

“By freeing landlords up from much red tape we would increase the chances of them investing in much needed new homes, boosting supply and thereby giving tenants far greater choice over their accommodation. It is that which will best improve standards.

“At the same time, the RLA has already produced a detailed Manifesto for Growth to bring further investment to the private rented sector. The question for Shelter is where is its proposals for investment?”

Further Information
  • The English Housing Survey Household Survey for 2010-11 found that 84 per cent of tenants in the private rented sector were satisfied with their accommodation compared with 80 per cent of all social renters. Read the English Housing Survey Household Survey 2010-11. (you can find the statistics mentioned above on page 117, paragraph 7.29)
  • The RLA is currently developing its ‘Reigning in Regulation’ proposals for a two-path approach to better standards in the private rented sector. The RLA’s plan would see the creation of a national ‘Good Landlord’ accreditation system, and empower local authorities to target criminal landlords more effectively. The RLA’s draft proposals have been submitted to the current inquiry being undertaken by the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector, and accompany this press release. Read the RLA’s ‘Reigning in Regulation’ proposals in full.

About the author



The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.


  • I am concerned about referring to landlords as criminal. I had a tenant who refused to turn on the heating and the entire walls had mould. I am sure in Environment Health had turned out they would have blamed the landlord, some tenants are liars and will claim the landlord gave the property in such a condition, rather then accept blame for their own actions. So I am concerned innocent landlord being ‘hounded’ because of bad tenants. There should be a place, where landlord can report bad tenants, to warn other landlords….

    The RLA talks of landlord accreditation, but some landlords don’t want day to day leaving, they leave it up the letting agency. There is currently nothing to regulate letting agents.

    I had one cheeky letting agent, who had a neighboring landlord who refused to fix the water leak. The landlord was difficult. However, the letting agent claimed they don’t manage the property, they only collect rent. How can you have such an arrangement?

  • I think that anonymous has a point. If landlords are to be required to register or be accredited, why not go further and require that all tenancies are registered so that landlords and tenants are tracked openly and in the same way. This would allow “rogues” and “criminals” on either side of the contract to be rooted out.

  • I have been both a tenant and a landlord and I do know there are some disreputable landlords around – In fact I am having to take one to court. I have had really good experiences of tenants so far and I am concerned that this organisation RLA is seen to be in conflict with Shelter. I support Shelter and believe that many people are challenged by the lack of council house accommodation and unemployment. I believe we should have a constructive dialogue with Shelter and realise that some of the problems we face are to do with government politics and not the limitations of either Shelter or the RLA.

    • Dear Anonymous,

      The RLA has a good, working relationship with Shelter and have worked with them on issues such as tenant education. However, there will obviously be things we don’t agree with them about. Nonetheless we have a robust relationship and our work is on-going.

  • If it was known how much of their money is spent on providing very expensive legal aid to tenants that owe their landlords thousands in unpaid rent, or who have severely damaged the property they were living in, Shelter donors would pull the plug in their thousands.

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