Two landlord associations have criticised local councils for a lack of enforcement and failing to prosecute criminal landlords.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) says tenants are being let down, while the National Landlords Association (NLA) claims it’s ‘too easy’ for landlords to get away with unlawful behaviour.
The united message comes in response to figures released by housing charity Shelter which show that one in eight tenants are suffering due to a landlord who has broken the law.
Shelter’s study, which surveyed over 3,000 renters, found that over 7% of tenants’ landlords had entered a rental property without permission.
The report also suggests that the equivalent of 64,000 tenants have had their utilities cut off without consent and the equivalent of 200,000 have been abused, threatened or harassed by their landlord.
The charity says that it is a minority of landlords causing these problems, but reports it has had over 220,000 unique visits to its website pages for advice on problems with landlords over the last year.
“Every day at Shelter we speak to people at the end of their tether after a law-breaking landlord has caused chaos in their lives,” says Danielle Goodwin, helpline adviser at Shelter.
“These range from instances where the renter has been unaware of their rights, to cases where renters are exploited and subjected to terrible experiences by a minority of law breaking landlords.”
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, says: “These figures highlight serious issues that are simply unacceptable but our research with tenants shows that 82% say they are happy with their current landlord.”
“Furthermore, Shelter’s figures show the vast majority of landlords to be law abiding.”
Andrew Goodacre, the RLA’s chief executive, adds: “[We are] fully supportive of regulations that protect tenants but the reality is that we can regulate all we like but without proper enforcement it becomes meaningless.”
“Tenants are being let down by local authorities who are failing to properly enforce the powers available to them to tackle the criminal minority of landlords.”