What works? Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rented sector

By: Martha Mackenzie
Published: September 2013

What works? Tackling rogue landlords and improve the private rented sector

Throughout the course of our Evict Rogue Landlords campaign Shelter has been fortunate enough to engage with a wide range of local authorities. We have come across some fantastic examples of local councils using innovative and cost-effective techniques to tackle rogue landlords and improve their local private rented sector.

This guide looks at how local authorities can use the following actions to tackle rogue landlords and improve conditions in their private rented sector:

  • Proactively manage and proactively inspect properties to make sure that they are appropriate homes for renters.

  • Adequately resource and support their local enforcement teams.

  • Take tough enforcement action against rogue landlords. And publicise their tough stance in the local press.

  • Advise renters and give them the support they need to bring complaints to the council.

  • Implement a clear complaints procedure and harness the skills of other agencies.

  • Proactively manage their local private rented sector through accreditation and licensing schemes.

  • Work to educate tenants and landlords of their rights and responsibilities.

Crucially, one element will usually not make the difference. It is important to develop a combination of different initiatives and interventions. Equally important is a willingness to try new, innovative approaches, even when facing increasing resource constraints. Many of the examples within this guide prove how possible this is.

This guide will focus on seven local councils. But in order explore the core themes in more detail it will first unpick the actions alongside accompanying examples from a broader range of local authorities. These examples have been sourced following the most recent iterations of Shelter’s Evict Rogue Landlords campaign and from interviews carried out as part of this emerging good practice project.

The local authorities featured have used a combination of different actions to take a tough line against rogue landlords and improve the private rented sector. And they have demonstrated how important a mixed, localised approach is. They have been careful to select resource-savvy techniques that work for their local area and that fit with the wider priorities of the council. By painting a picture of ‘what is possible’, these examples will hopefully spark innovation and generate new ideas in local private rented sector policy.