Two thirds of councils in England have failed to prosecute any criminal landlords in the last three years, according to new research.
A freedom of information request by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) found 67% of councils had not successfully prosecuted a landlord for offences related to standards in or the management of private rented housing between 2018 and 2021.
It found 20 local authorities were responsible for 77% of all successful prosecutions, with Southwark, Birmingham and Hull having the highest number of prosecutions.
The NRLA said just 937 successful prosecutions of criminal landlords had taken place over the past three years, despite the Government estimating there are around 10,500 rogue landlords in operation.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: ‘Whilst ensuring councils have the resources they need is vital, so too is the need for them to be more transparent about the levels of enforcement they are taking. In short, local authorities need to prioritise activity to find and root out criminal landlords, ensuring it is they who meet the costs of such efforts.
’Our research illustrates also that there is no clear link between the existence of a landlord licensing scheme and levels of prosecutions. Councils again need to be open with tenants and landlords about how such schemes are ensuring standards are met in rental housing.’
The NRLA is calling for councils to publish details of enforcement activity against private landlords on an annual basis.