Landlord Licensing Charges Central Housing Group

Rogue letting agents scandal is sign of bad enforcement says trade body

Last week’s revelation that approaching 50 per cent of letting agents surveyed in London were in breach of the law is a sign of how poor enforcement is by Trading Standards.

Letting Agent Today reported on Friday that London Trading Standards claimed that 46 per cent of 1,922 agents inspected in the 15 months up to June 2019 by local council trading standards officers were non-compliant with either the Consumer Rights Act and/or the legislation on redress scheme membership.

However, the Residential Landlords Association has turned the findings back against trading standards officers, saying that this is an admission of failure in enforcement.

The RLA has long argued that low levels of enforcement against criminal landlords and letting agents by local authorities are a result of a lack of funding to enforce the powers available to them.

Its own Freedom of Information analysis found that in 2017/18 over half of councils said they had no enforcement policy in place.

Now David Smith, the association’s policy director, says: “Whilst it is good to see some increase in enforcement it is still patchy with different levels of action from one council to another.

“Local authorities must have the funds they need to properly enforce the wide range of powers they already have to tackle sub-standard housing and criminals operating in the sector.

“The government should provide a multi-year funding packaging to councils specifically to improve enforcement action.”

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