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Councils in the West Midlands are failing to act on landlord complaints according to new figures released.
Councils in the Black Country received more than 1,500 complaints against private landlords last year but went on to prosecute only two landlords.
Figures obtained from Freedom of Information requests show that 1,506 complaints were made to councils against rogue landlords in 2017/18, but just two prosecutions were brought, both by Sandwell council.
While there were only two prosecutions, there were 1,032 housing health and safety rating system (HHSR) inspections carried out in 2017/18.
Following complaints, councils in the Black Country served hazard awareness notices 105 times. The majority, 97 of them, were from Sandwell.
Wolverhampton served just seven, Dudley one, and none were issued from Walsall council.
There were 54 improvement notices issued to private landlords in the Black Country for what are known as category 1 and category 2 hazards. A category 1 hazard is one that poses a serious threat to a tenant’s health or safety.
Overall there were at least 101,614 complaints made against private landlords in England and Wales in 2017/18 – resulting in just 996 prosecutions.
Despite the government giving councils new powers in April 2017 to combat complaints against landlords, more than two-thirds of councils (67 per cent) brought no prosecutions against private landlords in 2017/18.
At the time of granting the new powers, Housing and Planning minister Gavin Barwell said: ‘These measures will give councils the additional powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area.
‘By driving out of business those rogue landlords that continue to flout the rules, we can raise standards, improve affordability and give tenants the protections they need.’
The figures also show that 89 per cent of local authorities did not impose civil penalties on rogue landlords either following complaints – despite having the power to do so.
More than half (59 per cent) of the local authorities reported that they did not even have a policy in place to use the powers.