The legislation dealing with rogue landlords has been slammed by the Local Government Association (LGA), which says it needs replacing with a database to cover all housing-related convictions.

The LGA insists local authorities do not have the power to tackle criminal landlords who move regions to avoid detection.

Even if they are tracked down and prosecuted, it can take up to 16 months to come to conclusion and ends up costing the individual councils.

One city council was successful in bringing a private landlord to justice, handing him a £2,600 fine, but the council was left with costs topping £5,500.

The latest Housing and Planning Bill will see a database formed to list all rogue landlords who are the subject of banning orders.

But the LGA already says it should go further by covering all housing misdemeanors committed by private landlords.

They LGA is calling for a ‘fit and proper person’ test – a screening designed to filter out rogue landlords.

They also want letting agents to be brought under the same the same legislation as estate agents to weed out the criminal fraternity, and provide stronger sentencing powers to magistrates to deal with them.

LGA environment spokesman Councillor Peter Box, said: “A national information pool of rogue landlords is urgently needed so councils can identify the serial rogue operators and target them more effectively.

“We are calling for a system which protects the good landlords, whose reputation is being dragged down by the bad ones.

“Councils are doing everything they can to tackle rogue landlords. However, they are being let down by the current system, which fails to account for the seriousness of the situation.”