Landlord organisations have responded to a new government report on the private rented sector which seeks more funds and powers for local councils and trading standards.

Residential Landlords Association boss Alan Ward welcomed the calls by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, but warned councils are 'unable to properly enforce the powers they already have.'

"Research has found that there are over 140 Acts of Parliament and more than 400 regulations affecting the private rented sector," he said.

“Whilst the MPs on the committee call for greater powers to protect tenants when they raise complaints about standards in a property, the reality is that these protections already exist and as the Resolution Foundation noted earlier this week, that fewer than one in 10 tenancies are ended by landlords.

“The problem is that over-stretched councils simply do not have the resources to properly use such powers to protect tenants from the minority of landlords who are criminals and have no place in the sector.

"We therefore welcome calls by the committee for greater resources for local authorities and greater political leadership by them to root out criminal landlords” he added.

He supported the committee’s view that a Housing Court would improve the speed of and access to justice for tenants and landlords.

“At present the courts are not fit for purpose when seeking to uphold tenant and landlord rights” he said.

A Freedom of Information request to 296 councils in England and Wales about enforcement activity over a five year period to 2017 found a three per cent fall in inspections by councils related to the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and a seven per cent decrease in the number of Hazard Awareness Notices issued.