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Only half of councils bother to collect rogue landlord fines

fine collection in England

Less than half the fines levied against rogue landlords have been collected by local authorities, according to data gathered by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).

Between 2021 and 2023, £13 million worth of civil penalties were issued by councils, but just £6 million was collected, while almost half of local authorities (49%) didn’t issue any civil penalties, and 69% issued just five or fewer.

The research also found that the use of all types of enforcement powers remains heavily concentrated in a small number of local authorities; half of all Housing Health and Safety Rating System inspections are performed by just 20 local authorities while more than half of all improvement notices and 60% of civil penalties are issued by 20 local authorities.

Training fund

The NRLA is calling for a new national chief environmental health officer to lead the charge for improved enforcement against rogue and criminal landlords along with a recruitment and training fund to boost capacity in council enforcement teams, and to better support the sharing of best practice between councils.

Chief executive Ben Beadle (right) says tackling rogue and criminal landlords should be a high priority for councils but failing to collect the fines levied on those landlords failing to do the right thing makes a mockery of the deterrent such fines should be. “It will also come as a bitter blow to the many responsible landlords who comply with, and exceed, their responsibilities - but are subject to licensing regimes and associated fees all the same,” he adds.

“It is vital that the government and councils work together to boost the capacity of enforcement teams to make better use of the existing powers they have to tackle poor quality housing. Without this, additional protections for tenants in the Renters Reform Bill run the risk of being meaningless.”

Properly resourced

The Local Government Association says councils must be properly resourced as they take on significant new regulatory and enforcement responsibilities. A spokesman tells LandlordZONE: “While we are pleased that the Bill enables local authorities to keep the proceeds of financial penalties in order to reinvest them in enforcement, this funding will likely fall short of covering the full costs of the new duties at the scale needed to improve standards for tenants.

“Enforcement teams do not have enough capacity or resourcing to tackle poor standards as it stands.”


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Landlord fines