A new crackdown on rogue agents and landlords will come into force within weeks.
From April 6 onwards, agents and landlords could face prosecution, with fines and ‘instant’ civil penalties of up to £30,000.
The fines will be where agents and landlords have failed to take action on over-crowding, hazardous conditions, poor sanitation, electrical faults, damp and vermin infestation.
The measure are to be implemented under the Housing and Planning Act.
Those agents and landlords that repeatedly break the rules will be banned from operating in the private rented sector – and placed on a blacklist.
The blacklist, however, will only be accessible to local and central government – not to members of the public using letting agents, and not to employers or recruitment companies in the sector.
Income raised by fines will be used by local councils to raise standards.
Local authorities will also be able to receive details from tenancy deposit protection schemes, to build a picture of the rental market in their area.
ARLA said: “We hope this will reduce the number of local authority licensing schemes.”