An organisation representing landlords says that local authorities need to step up their efforts in tackling rogue landlords in a bid to better protect tenants in private rented properties.
The Residential Landlords' Association (RLA) made the announcement in response to a survey carried out by housing charity Shelter which revealed that one in seven tenants have suffered because landlords have broken the law.
Among the issues are landlords entering a home without permission, not protecting deposits and abusing or harassing tenants including discriminating against tenants on the grounds of nationality, gender and race.
Shelter also adds that tenants are let down by councils who fail to deal with rogue landlords and that around one million tenants have been victimised by a rogue landlord in the past year.
Tenants say they are happy with their rented home
The RLA's chief executive, Andrew Goodacre, said: “The English housing survey revealed that 82% of tenants say they are happy with their rented home but we do recognise that there are landlords who do not follow the law.
“We are supportive of regulations protecting tenants but in reality without proper enforcement they become meaningless. Tenants are let down by local authorities who fail to enforce properly the available powers to tackle a criminal minority of landlords.”
The housing charity also reveals that more than 60,000 tenants have had rogue landlords cut off their utilities, while 50,000 tenants say they have had their belongings removed from a property or had their locks changed.
A spokeswoman for Shelter explained that they are having to deal with tenants every day who are struggling with the activities of a lawbreaking landlord who is ‘causing chaos’.
She added: “These instances range from a renter not knowing their rights and also where renters are being exploited and also subjected to awful experiences by a minority of lawbreaking landlords.”
Buy to let mortgage lending is subdued
Meanwhile, the Council of Mortgage Lenders has revealed that buy to let mortgage lending has been sluggish in their latest report while mortgages for individuals to buy a property have risen substantially.
From the data, while lending has been stable it appears that remortgaging in the buy to let market is more prominent.
A spokesman for the CML said: “Buy to let house purchase activity remained subdued even with moving away from the stamp duty change and it's also firmly down compared to last year.
“This looks like it will continue now that lenders have tightened affordability criteria ahead of interest tax relief changes next April.”