Councils’ failure to take action against criminal landlords risks damaging the reputation of the sector ever further, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has claimed.

Research gained via Freedom of Information Act requests shows that two-thirds of English councils have not brought any rogue landlord to book over the past three years, while 10% have secured a single prosecution.

The organisation also says there is ‘no clear link’ between a council having implemented a selective licensing scheme and increased levels of enforcement.

Instead, as LandlordZONE’s regular updates show and the NRLA’s research confirms, a core 20 councils are responsible for three-quarters of all rogue landlord prosecutions including three of the most prolific, Southwark, Birmingham, and Hull.

The NRLA also says the data shows that fewer than a thousand criminal landlords have been prosecuted since 2018, far fewer than the 10,500 that, in the past, Ministers have claimed stalk the sector.


While the Government has pledged to publish a white paper on reform of the private rented sector next year, the NRLA is warning that a failure to enforce the wide range of powers already available to tackle criminal and rogue landlords will critically undermine further reform.

The NRLA is calling on the Government to provide councils with the multi-year funding needed to ensure they are properly resourced to take action against criminal landlords.

“The vast majority of responsible landlords are sick and tired of a failure to root out the minority who bring the sector into disrepute,” says NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle (pictured).

“The problem is not a lack of powers, but a failure by councils to enforce them properly.”


  1. Licensing is supposed to give Councils powers to prosecute rogueLLs – this confirms what we always knew, the Councils already have the powers to deal with rogue LLs they just don’t use them & licensing is about raising revenue.


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