Landlords running unlicensed shared homes triggered 30 complaints last year, according to a snapshot of the private rental sector compiled by York City Council.
The report looks at complaints handled by the council about buy to let homes and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
Housing officers also dealt with 170 complaints from tenants about buy to let housing including six alleged illegal evictions, 11 cases of harassment and 120 potential health and safety risks.
The council took “pre-enforcement action”, like letters or verbal warnings, against 71 landlords, but this had not resolved the issue in 34 of the cases.
Enforcement action, including legal notices, cautions and court action, were started eight times in the year, with only one landlord failing to obey an order, although three landlords were prosecuted in court.
Fire crews and police were each called three times to deal with landlord behaviour or neglected homes.
The council highlighted concerns “about a dozen” landlords who treat tenants badly or run poorly maintained properties, and is also worried about an increasing number of letting agents in the city.
In 2000, the private rented sector was 10% of York’s housing, but that had soared to more than 15% in 2011.
“The number of rental properties in York had grown significantly over the last 12 years and housing standards in the city were improving,” said a council spokesman. “We know standards in the private rented sector, compared to other tenures in the city, are poorer, as is the case nationally.
“However, there are many good landlords and letting agents and private tenants are generally satisfied with the standard of their accommodation.
“We have found the majority of those landlords who don’t adhere to the law do so out of ignorance and we work with them to support them in raising standards.
“However, firm action is taken against those who flout the law or act irresponsibly.”