March 29, 2019

Councils in England have been accused of failing to use powers to tackle rogue landlords in the private rented sector.

A response to a parliamentary question this week on the use of rent repayment orders (RROs) revealed that just three have been issued by local authorities to claw back Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit paid through rent in the 18 months to September 2018.

In contrast, 18 RROs have been issued by tenants from when they gained powers to issue the order in April 2017 and September 2018.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “Councils are failing tenants and good landlords.

“For all the talk about them needing new powers, the reality is that many are not properly using the wide range of powers they already have to drive out criminal landlords.

“Laws without proper enforcement mean nothing. It is time for councils to start acting against the crooks.”

Said Phil Turtle, of Landlords Defence, “Some Councils are regularly advising Tenants to claim Rent Repayment Orders. It is only a matter of time before Tenants become aware of how easy it is to make a RRO claim!

“Landlords need to ensure they have HMO or Selective Licences when they are required and to comply with the HMO Management Regulations even if they only have three people sharing (and not all related) since that is legally and HMO!”

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