Yorkshire councils are not using the extensive range of powers they possess to root out criminal landlords
Councils in Yorkshire are failing to use the extensive range of powers they possess to root out criminal landlords who cause misery for tenants and bring their law-abiding peers into disrepute, it is claimed.
Figures provided by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) to The Yorkshire Post show just 35 prosecutions were started against private landlords by the region’s town halls in 2017/18, down from 48 the previous year.
Over the previous four years only 105 such prosecutions were launched by local authorities in Yorkshire and the Humber, including 26 in 2015/16 and 13 in 2012/13.
And according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the RLA, across the country two-thirds of councils in England and Wales brought no prosecutions at all against private landlords in the last financial year.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, Bradford and Leeds began the largest number of prosecutions against landlords, with ten each during the whole 12-month period, followed by North East Lincolnshire with four.
The RLA says seven councils, Calderdale, Craven, Doncaster, Hambleton, Kirklees, Selby and Wakefield, took out no prosecutions, while one authority, Harrogate, said it had not recorded the data in 2017/18.
The organisation, which describes itself as the national voice for landlords, says most of the region’s councils are also failing to make use of new powers to issue fines against criminal landlords.
But the body representing local authorities says that legislation “is not keeping pace with the ingenuity of these rogue landlords” and that “councils are determined to do everything in their power to ensure tenants can live in secure properties”.
The Government has been urged to improve existing laws to help local councils take action against the rogue landlords who are taking advantage of those at the sharp end of housing crisis.
The Local Government Association has called on Ministers to help draft more cohesive legislation to tackle those who are making their tenants’ lives a misery after claiming that current laws are “not keeping pace with the ingenuity of rogue landlords”.
The warning came after figures from the Residential Landlords Association showed that only 35 prosecutions against private landlords were started by Yorkshire councils in 2017/18, with two-thirds of town halls nationwide bringing no such prosecutions during the same period.
Policy Director for the RLA, David Smith said either the number of problem landlords is not as high as some suggest, or councils across Yorkshire and The Humber have been unable to enforce the extensive range of powers they already have to root out criminal landlords.
Smith said the inconsistent data across the region suggests that it is the latter. This demonstrates that it is not more regulation that is needed but better enforcement of existing law. Criminal landlords cause misery for their tenants, undercut the majority of landlords who are decent and bring the sector into disrepute.