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Controversial council’s chief slams “dangerously unregulated” rental sector

A housing chief in a controversial council has tweeted that “Private landlords must be held accountable!”.

She also claims on social media that the rental sector is “dangerously unregulated, leaving tenants vulnerable to horrendous poor housing standards.”

The councillor is Sarah Doyle, Liverpool’s senior council member with responsibility for housing.


In March this year then then-Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced he would be appointing Commissioners to oversee authority and carry out some council activities for at least three years. 

This was following an investigation, commissioned in 2020 that found there were "multiple apparent failures" and a "deeply concerning picture of mismanagement" in the council. 

Doyle’s social media comments follow news that the government had approved a vast landlord licensing scheme in Liverpool.

It covers 45,000 homes but is still much smaller than the local authority initially wanted.


The scheme targets 16 wards in the city of Liverpool where at least one in five homes is owned by a private landlord.

This new licensing system follows the rejection in January 2019 by the government of a proposal for a citywide scheme.

The new licensing scheme will be introduced from April 2022 and will run for five years - so far there are no details on charges to landlords.

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  • George Dawes

    Whereas the councils are shining beacons of efficiency

    Theodor Cable

    So funny. :-)

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    The PRS is not unregulated - Councils just don't bother to use the powers they have to enforce them. Instead they introduce further layers of regulation in the form of licensing, checking up on the compliant LLs and leaving non-compliant LLs hiding away in the shadows.

    Stephen Chipp

    100% this! Use the masses of legislation in existence and prosecute the poor landlords and agents. Oh and have a little look at the condition much of the council stock is in around the Country!


    Absolutely, it's the same in every industry.


    Spot on, Tricia and a mirror to our own experiences over the last 20 years.

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    We've seen on camera what state the councils rental properties are in, and as I pointed out yesterday Norwich City Council haven't been doing their electrical or gas checks, perhaps councils should be getting their own housing stock in order


    Mate, please stop with this rubbish. As I informed you previously, EVERY SINGLE council property in the country has been refurbished between 2003 and 2017. I was on multiple sites all over the country as it was happening, I saw it first hand. The ones who were in the early programmes (before the money started dwindling) were done to an extremely high standard, using high quality materials, kitchens and bathroom suites.

    I've also lived in 5 council properties over the course of my life, seen my parents live in another 3 and my sister live in one. I've also lived in over 20 private rental propeties, and worked in HUNDREDS over the past 25 years... and council houses are in miles better condition than PRS ones. It's not even close.

    Just because ITN or any other media outlet finds anomalies and frame the story in a certain way doesn't mean you have to fall for it hook, line and sinker. Have some objectivity for God's sake.

    The Norwich issue is a perfect example. This was an oversight that their own quality review system found, and immediately began the process of putting right. There was no attempt to avoid the checks, it was a mistake. The checks will get done, and any remedial work necessary (there won't be a lot because all the properties have been rewired in the past 18 years anyway, some in the past 5) will get done to professional standards.

    Now consider the PRS.

    Do you know how many landlords rang me in a flap when EICR's became mandatory, well after the date they were due? Do you know how many even knew what an EICR was? And the best one... do you know how many immediately became indignant with ME, because I couldn't issue them a satisfactory EICR on a property that hadn't been maintained in decades, but in their view 'has worked ok for years'?

    The answer is; most of them. And that's just the electrics. Don't even get me started on boilers and heating systems. Then there's ventilation. The same issues cropping up on property, after property, after property.... all of them being issues that require planned, preventative maintenance ie a systematic and professional approach from the landlord.

    I have worked with good landlords and I've worked with bad landlords. I'm a landlord myself, and I can't stand councils or politicians. But the fact of the matter is that there are many more unprofessional landlords than professional ones, and infinitely more poorly maintained properties in the PRS than there will ever be in social housing.



    If every single Council house was refurbished between 2003 and 2017, that means tenants have had plenty of time - 4 to 17 years - to trash them again!

    I refurbish my properties very frequently - certainly several times in a 17 year period - because that's the way to attract the better off tenants who can pay the highest rents - and in my experience of well over 300 tenants over around 30 years, the best returns are made from the best properties occupied by the highest rent paying tenants. Such properties also generate the least hassle. I learned this lesson early on and upgraded my cheaper properties in areas that justified them and ditched the cheaper properties where upgrading them couldn't be cost justified. I am not in the social work business and want to choose what charity donations I make so I will not considerhousing benefit claimants or buying the type of property they might be able to afford with or without tax pay hand outs.

    Whilst there are a few rogue lsndlords, I believe most prs properties are initially let out in good order and contrary to one of your earlier claims, properties do not "fall" into disrepair in a passive manner. Toilet seats, power points, fixtures and fittings don't break spontaneously. They break because they are abused. Mould does not grow spontaneously and even most social housing providers produce advice notes on how to avoid it - ignored by those problem tenants who cause it and then complain about it, usually as a justification for rent dodging.

    In summary, no housing sector, social or prs, is homogeneous and your assertion that the majority of social housing is maintained in a superior condition to the majority of the PRS is nonsense. Market forces dictate that high prices demand high quality to justify them and any landlord who wants to compete for tenants with the social housing sector by charging lower rents is doomed to failure as his costs will exceed his income.

    I am astonished you don't think the "mistake" of "forgetting " mandatory checks merits the same sort of sanctions that would be levied against a private LandLORD.

    Finally - remind me - was Grenfell Tower a social or private rented property?


    Sorry Max but you are the one talking rubbish, now come on we are never going to agree on this so lets just agree to disagree


    @ Robert Brown 'If every single Council house was refurbished between 2003 and 2017, that means tenants have had plenty of time - 4 to 17 years - to trash them again!'

    Don't talk absolute garbage. Just like Andrew townshend your opinion is biased by a sterotypical idea of the average council tenant from crap that you see on TV and in the media. The average council tenant just gets on with life like the rest of us and has no desire to 'trash' the property they live in. You also don't seem to understand what a refurb actually is. I know that the average landlord thinks a refurb consists of painting over the mould and grubby patches on the walls (along with a cheap new carpet if the incoming tenant is lucky), however, I'm talking about the Decent Homes Programme that saw every property rewired, get a new heating system, a new kitchen, a new bathroom, new doors, new windows, new insulation, new roofs in some cases, not to mention a raft of circumstance specific items, such as fencing, gates etc. On many estates the community centres and playgrounds were also refurbed at the same time.

    Shall we also ignore the fact that even trashed properties are immediately brought back up to the DHS for incoming tenants? So even the average trashed council property is still in better nick than the average PRS one.

    How you keep your properties is irrelevant, I'm talking about general standards. You only have your own properties as a reference, I have over 20 that I've lived in, and literally hundreds that I've worked in. The general standard of electrics is an absolute joke, with plumbing, ventilation and insulation not far behind. These issues are due to a lack of maintenance, not abuse by tenants. Of course, like any other landlord I agree that tenants abuse properties and should be made to pay for what they damage. They are however, not responsible for 40 year old fuseboxes and wiring, 20 year old boilers that constantly need re-igniting, rusted radiators, wallpapered over airbricks, condensated windows, mouldy grout, kitchens and bathrooms from the 70's and 80's and all the other crap I see literally on a daily basis while working in or viewing PRS properties.

    Market forces? You might have a point if the majority of landlords didn't look for the cheapest properties and then look to refurb and maintain them as cheaply as possible. Like I've already said, the majority are unprofessional, the concept of market forces is alien to them, all they consider is cost. They are penny wise and pound stupid. Councils however, while being far from beacons of efficiency, are bureaucratic, and have to meet compliance requirements. The housing associations and non profits that many of the councils sold their stock to under the HA 2004 are profiting by having their own private contractors carrying out the work (in fact, the companies now doing Norwich's missed checks are owned by Norfolk County Council), so why WOULDN'T they spend the money? It is in their interests to do so.

    But of course, you knew all this.

    Finally, I DO think that missing the checks warrants the same sanctions as a landlord would get. That's not the argument here. A glitch in the system is not the same as wilful ignorance.


    @ Andrew townshend

    Rather than keep repeating that I am wrong and you are right like a child, why do you actually try refuting any of my points with some facts? And when I say facts, I don't mean crap that you got from the news. Either properly sourced data or non anecdotal, first hand experience will do. I'm not expecting much.


    Max, because I cannot be bothered, I have better things to be doing, referring to me as a 'child' just about sums you up, I will not be reading anymore of your posts or replying to them.



    I was born in a council flat 72 years ago and all my relatives lived I council properties for most of my early life. Over 90% of Council Tenants then we're "salt of the earth" but there were enough scrum families to incentivise decent tenants to buy or build their own properties as soon as they could afford to do so.

    I do accept there will still be many decent Council Tenants but the percentage of scrum will be significantly higher than before and higher than in more expensive prs properties where landlords can still he them out at the end of the tenancy term.

    Since tenants are mainly responsible for causing properties to "fall" into disrepair, the higher proportion of scrum tenants in council properties, coupled with poorer quality of management in public sector, means that council properties with very long tenancies are on average in poorer condition than prs properties which have much shorter tenancies.

    The Queen apparently thinks the outside world smells of fresh paint because that's her limited experience of the outside world.

    I suspect your experience of prs is similar and limited to the lower end of the market where rogue landlords and tenants live in harmony.

    I can't think of any reason why landlords with better quality properties would want you in their properties or need your "expertise " which may have given you a skewed opinion of much of the PRS.

    Anyway, whatever the reasons for your faulty perceptions, on reflection, I think Andrew is right - so it's also goodbye from me!

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    The Council’s had tax payers money to do the work and don’t pay tax on their rental income. We have to pay for the property, up dating and taxes plus pay Council to look at it, hardly a fair comparison.
    Looks like the whole family had made use of subsidised housing.

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    max boye, what do you do for a living? thats rubbish about Norwich council.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    When 83% of Tenants are satisfied with their rental experience, How then can there be more Unprofessional landlords than professional ones ???

    Surely that would equate to a Tenant satisfaction rate of much LESS than 50 % !
    I don't think this is Rocket-science Mathematics ?


    That does not follow at all. It is axiomatically true that we cannot tell the number of bad landlords from the number of satisfied tenants.

    Imagine a hypothetical town with 100 tenants and 3 landlords. 83 tenants rent from Alan, who is a good landlord. 10 tenants rent from Bob, who is a rogue landlord. 7 tenants rent from Chris, who is also a rogue landlord.

    83% of tenants are happy with their landlord, but rogue landlords outnumber good ones by 2:1. This is not rocket science mathematics.


    Given the scale of landlords and tenants is in the millions, to try to fiddle an excellent 83% satisfaction rate to suggest they are all from a single good landlord or could disguise a situation where 66% of landlords are rogue landlords is exactly the type of nonsense we have come to expect from the above poster.

    In fact, given most landlords have only one or a very small number of properties, an 83% satisfaction rating is more likely to indicate a higher percentage of landlords with satisfied tenants, with a few rogues with multiple sub standard properties causing most of the problems.

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    Where allegedly are all those Rogue LL’s if they exist, if they exist you must Know who they are and authorities can easily deal with them, if they don’t know it’s speculation and here say and should stop using those slanderous derogatory remarks turning public against us. I never heard Councils refer to LL’s without calling them Rogues. Suppose someone make a racist comment they would probably be locked up. It ok to keep discrimination and de-meaning private Landlords.

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    • AQ
    • 07 December 2021 19:25 PM

    She looks about 12.

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    This is absolutely amazing that a Council Chief can come out with a dum Statement like this. “Dangerously UnRegulated” indeed.
    Does she not know that we have over 150 pieces of legislation governing us, among the most Regulated business in the Country, come on now play fair, we have to be a fit and proper person but also be the most appropriate person and then have to listen to this nonsense.


    It seems to me the '' dangerously unregulated'' is more appropriate to the social housing sector

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    To repeat all this hate speech is based on bigotry and hatred NOT facts welcome to the fourth reich
    These hate groups enjoy abusing landlords and their children so why put up with it
    sell up, buy in europe house europeans ,create european jobs , pay european taxes it will be the best move ever
    In europe landlords are treated the same as any other business ,no discrimination no hatred no injustice
    PLEASE tell me one good reason to put up with this


    I expect you are correct, if I were 20 yrs younger I might well be doing just that

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    My experience is that the police dont want to know about landlord fraud or criminal behaviour by the tenant. Further trading standards dont want to know about fraud being commited by electrical contractors (and others) carrying out checks. Further i dont need anecdotal evidence about council tenants, I know some of them .A sub conntractor of mine moved into a new counciil house and within a short time the kicthen furniture was ruined. Then all the dooors came off ! During the Thatcher era, one reason for selling off council houses was that the cost of maintenance exceeded the rent ! And now the management companies running the housing stock are semi privatised and the mangers are being paid big money ! Obviously its the taxpayer paying for this.


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