Bad landlords should face jail and heavier fines
Quick heads-up. In this article, we'll be talking about rogue landlords. Now, any mention of them sees some people's hair standing on end, and then they write a CAPSLOCK comment like "WHAT ABOUT BAD TENANTS? MY MATE HAD A HOUSE WHERE THE PEOPLE LIVING THERE...".
These people, presumably, walk into cancer wards and start yelling "WHAT ABOUT OTHER ILLNESSES?!" We all know there's lousy tenants, but we're talking about lousy landlords.
So, what's the scoop? Well, according to the Local Government Association, bad landlords should face bigger fines, tougher licensing rules and even jail, in a bid to stop them from exploiting people and renting out substandard housing.
The LGA, who rep over 370 councils in England and Wales, want the courts to have the power to punish rogue landlords in a much heavier way,
LGA housing spokesman councillor Peter Box said: "The courts need to punish rogue landlords proportionately and there should be a consistent standard when it comes to licensing. We know that the majority of tenants in the private rented sector are satisfied with their accommodation, but that shouldn't distract from the fact there are far too many rogue landlords creating misery for people who often see themselves as having little choice but to put up with it."
Landlords can be jailed for illegally evicting tenants, but the LGA think that a lack of guidelines is putting magistrates in a position, that they have to take a landlords' financial circumstances into consideration during sentencing, which means we end up with "paltry fines".
"Councils are doing everything they can to tackle bad practice by rogue landlords. However, they are being hamstrung by a system racked by delays, bureaucracy and feeble fines," Box said. "Magistrates should be able to take the seriousness of the offence into consideration and jail rogue landlords who put lives at risk. Fines must match the offence, rather than landlords' ability to pay - which is an open invitation for exploitation."