There are nearly 1,500 “rogue” landlords in England, research by the housing charity Shelter shows.
Its staff contacted every local authority in England to find out the scale of the problem in the private rented sector and discovered that 1,477 landlords were giving councils repeated cause for concern.
In August, an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches, presented by Jon Snow, found that local authority cuts were making matters worse.
Shelter also discovered that complaints about landlords have increased from 70,813 to 86,628 since 2008 – a rise of 22 per cent.
There were just 270 successful prosecutions last year, with the highest number in the north west and the lowest in the south east. Pendle, in Lancashire, recorded the highest number of problem landlords, 100, closely followed by Wolverhampton, with 83.
Complaints about potentially life-threatening hazards, including dangerous gas and electrics, have risen by 25 per cent over the past two years. But complaints about harassment and illegal eviction have fallen.
Rogue landlords are getting away with it. Shelter chief executive, Campbell Robb
Shelter chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: “The reality is that rogue landlords are out there and they’re getting away with it. Every day at Shelter we see the devastating impact rogue landlords have on peoples’ lives as they remain trapped in homes that cause misery and, in some cases, put lives at risk.
“What’s more, we believe there could be thousands more tenants who are suffering in silence, holding back from complaining out of fear of the consequences or because they don’t feel their voices will be heard. Local authorities have the powers to tackle rogue landlords, but too many aren’t making the most of their armoury.”
David Parsons, chairman of the Local Government Association’s housing board, said: “Local authorities work very hard to identify and punish unscrupulous landlords and fully investigate any complaints they receive.
“An increase in the total number of complaints is a concern. However, the reduction in complaints of illegal eviction and harassment indicates that local authorities are getting better at addressing problems quickly before they escalate.”
02 August 2011
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