Industry News Sally Walmsley 16/05/2024

NRLA enforcement data presented to Parliamentary group

New NRLA enforcement data showing councils are failing to tackle the rogue landlords giving the sector a bad name has been presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group for the private rented sector.

The meeting was attended by MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum along with key stakeholders in the sector, to consider the ability of councils to enforce the powers they have to tackle bad practice in private rented sector. It also looked at how able local authorities will be to enforce the provisions of the Renters (Reform) Bill and what more they need to improve levels of enforcement. 

The figures, which also show up to £7 million of fines went unpaid between 2021-23, flag enforcement as one of the key challenges in the sector.

The NRLA is now lobbying for changes that will enable councils to target the rogues more effectively without punishing the vast majority of compliant landlords by creating more red tape, expense and legislative hoops to jump through.

With around 170 different  Acts of Parliament or Regulations already affecting the sector, NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle argued targeted and robust enforcement is what is needed, rather than new laws.

New powers under the Renters (Reform) Act

Council’s existing powers will be bolstered by a range of measures in the Renters (Reform) Bill including: 

  • A new decent homes standard for the sector. 
  • Mandatory membership of a new Property Portal and Ombudsman service.  
  • An extension the use of Rent Repayment Orders. 
  • A strengthening of powers to charge civil penalties in a range of situations where landlords are failing to do the right thing.
  • New protections, preventing discriminatory practices towards tenants.

Postcode lottery

 Ben told the meeting that whilst it is clearly the responsibility of landlords to ensure they are abiding by their legal obligations, tenants rightly deserve the assurance that where needed, councils will take swift and decisive enforcement action where needed. 

 He said: “Our key concern is ensuring councils are able to effectively utilise these powers to drive out those landlords who should not be in the sector. 

“Right now, it's a postcode lottery. While a small number of councils have well-resourced teams that proactively tackle serious issues, enforcement in many other areas is weak or non-existent.”

Recommendations for change

Ben told the groups that if the new legislation coming in as part of the Government’s Renters (Reform) Bill is to be fit for purpose, significant changes are needed.

The NRLA is calling for:

  • the creation of a new national Chief Environmental Health Officer to lead the charge for improved enforcement against rogue and criminal landlords. 
  • a recruitment and training fund to boost capacity in council enforcement teams and better support the sharing of best practice between councils. 
  • the immediate publication of the promised review of the HHSRS

He also said councils should be compelled to publish annual reports on their enforcement activity in respect of the private rented sector and how it is helping to address poor practice and sub-standard housing. 

More information 

 To read more about the NRLA research and to access the report click here.

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley Magazine and Digital Editor

Sally is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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