The Residential Landlords Association has recently revealed that Landlord regulations have increased by just over a third since 2010. The government crackdown on this sector has seen the number of regulations soar from 118 to 156 since the conservatives came in to power nine years ago. But have these regulation increases actually achieved what they set out to do? The RLA argues no, and have warned that the legislation increases have actually done very little in terms of improving enforcement action against criminal landlords.
Research conducted by the RLA themselves has strongly indicated that approximately two thirds of councils have not prosecuted any private landlords at all in the previous two years. Across the same time period, around 90 percent of councils admitted to not having taken advantage of their new powers to issue significant financial penalties to landlords for a wide range of offences. Furthermore, around 50 percent of councils went on to say that they had no policies in place to actually use the new powers. Ahead of the general elections therefore – the RLA is urging all political parties to work on improving the enforcement of the powers that are already available, as opposed to bringing in yet more pointless legislation.
In their recently released manifesto for the December poll, the RLA have set out key priorities for the sector. They have stressed the importance of the next government developing a clear and positive agenda for the private rented sector, – one which enables the good landlords to easily supply the country with the properties it needs, whilst also weeding out the criminal landlords. They have recommended for example ending the right to rent scheme and rejecting all forms of rent controls. They have also argued the case for abolishing licencing schemes – which they argue enable crooks to operate beneath the radar, whilst also penalising the reputable landlords. Lastly, they have put forward the case for empowering councils to make use of the huge amounts of data they already have at their fingertips, such as electoral roll details, council tax, benefits and tenancy deposits to identify landlords.
“Piling more regulations onto the sector which will continue not to be properly enforced is meaningless and serves only to put off good landlords from providing the homes to rent we need.
“It is time for smarter enforcement, not more regulation.” – David Smith, RLA Policy Director.
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