Rogue Landlords - a Look at the Stats
Landlords aren’t the rogues, swindlers, and crooks that politicians and councils paint. After overhauling property laws countless times in recent years, the statistics don’t match the claims.
The government spin is around 10,500 rogue landlords are making life miserable for renters in dangerous sub-standard homes. However, the statistics show only one in three councils has taken a landlord before the courts in the past three years - and just 20 councils in England bring the most prosecutions.
England has 333 councils, with 283 responding to the research. And although the Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents has operated since April 2018, entries are not open to public view and are believed to number fewer than 70.
Nevertheless, the government and lobbyists like Shelter claim tenants need a register to check a landlord’s credentials before handing over any money as a deposit.
How councils tackle rogue landlords
Renting out a home is a tightly regulated activity with many rules landlords need to follow. Failing to comply with the law can, in theory, lead to a hefty fine or even jail time.
Councils can impose fixed penalties of up to £30,000 each for a range of offences, such as not providing an electrical safety report. Other breaches are criminal offences punishable by up to six months in prison, like not having a valid gas certificate.
The government argues councils have the power to detect and punish rogue landlords. Still, few seem to take their responsibility seriously, or the level of offending is not as high as the politicians and housing charities like Shelter claim.
The data shows councils carried out 937 successful landlord prosecutions in the past three years. However, more than half of councils did not issue any civil penalties against private landlords during that time. That averages as 234 prosecutions a year
Which councils are tough on landlords?
Councils in Southwark, Hull and Birmingham were responsible for one in three rogue landlord prosecutions in England over three years to November 2021. Here’s the rogue landlord league table for councils issuing the most landlord civil penalties and prosecutions:
|9||Barking & Dagenham||23|
Source: Daily Mail
What the data shows
Three councils - Southwark, Barking & Dagenham and Waltham Forest - are in London, where Mayor Sadiq Khan maintains a Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker to name and shame landlord offenders.
The database has 177 entries, but the content is bloated by including agents expelled from the Property Ombudsman’s redress scheme. Many of the listed offenders are included more than once.
With this in mind, the checker includes 37 property agents sacked from the scheme, taking the number of rogue landlords punished with a criminal conviction down to 35, while civil penalties were issued 103 times.
To distort the data even further, some of the offenders received multiple convictions or civil penalties. Filtering the lists, the number of rogue landlords comes to just 68 added to the roll of shame in the four years since April 2018, with 19 criminal convictions and 49 paying civil penalties. In total, the offenders paid fines of £730,917.
The landlord mentioned most on the database is Ramnick Patel, who received 16 civil penalties for housing offences from Lewisham Council, London, in June 2021. His total fines came to £39,350. Patel’s record is due to be removed from the checker in June 2022.
All the landlords and letting agents on the London checker are banned from letting homes to private tenants.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove has promised that his plans for a national landlord register in England will go to consultation by the spring.
The latest rogue landlord bans
Camden Council, North London, has banned four landlords from letting or managing rental homes in England for five years. Camden has seven banned landlords - the highest number of any council in England.
The four offenders are Mohammed Ali Abbas Rasool, Daya Ahmed Dayaaldeen, Henna Mohamed Rashid, and Talal Faliez Fahad Sagor Alenezi. The offences relate to management and safety issues at houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
What is a banning order?
A banning order stops a landlord from taking part in letting and managing private rented homes. The order is issued by the First-tier Tribunal (Property) once a landlord is convicted of a criminal offence, such as:
- Unlawful eviction or harassment
- Threatening or using violence to enter a home
- Ignoring an improvement notice or prohibition order
- Letting an unlicensed home or breaking the conditions of a licence
- Breaking HMO management rules
- Breaking gas safety rules
- Taking a banned payment from a tenant
- Letting a home in breach of Right to Rent rules
Banning orders last for at least 12 months.
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Suppose a landlord or agent is convicted of a “banning order offence”. In that case, a local authority may apply to the First-tier Tribunal for a banning order against the landlord or agent who committed the offence.