Local authorities in England are failing to use new powers given to them to tackle bad landlords, new figures suggest.
Research by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) showed that councils were ignoring new powers they have to fine landlords up to £30,000 for failing to provide acceptable housing.
In 2017-18, nearly 90 per cent of local authorities did not hand out any such penalty – and half admitted they did not even have a policy in place to use them.
The RLA also found that councils were neglecting Rent Repayment Order powers they had been given in April 2017.
Local authorities have the ability to reclaim up to 12 months of rent from private landlords where rent was paid through housing benefits, and where the landlord had committed some sort of offence. This includes trying to evict tenants illegally, harassing tenants and a failure to comply with an improvement notice served on them.
But numbers given in a parliamentary answer show that until the end of September last year, only three Rent Repayment Orders had been made by councils across England.