Rogue’s gallery of filthy housing – but who’s to blame?

A disgusting gallery of filthy living conditions in private rented homes has been released by Reading Council to support a campaign for additional licensing of shared houses in the town.

But landlords and the council are arguing over who is responsible for the messy homes and whether stricter licensing will improve housing standards.

The National Landlords Association is a long-standing critic of trying to improve standards by tougher licensing and planning controls.

The NLA CEO Richard Lambert argues that bad landlords and bad tenants exist but councils already have sufficient legal powers to deal with them and that corralling all good landlords in with the bad won’t solve any problems.

“It is essential that all landlords operate their lettings business professionally and adhere to the many rules and regulations governing the private-rented sector,” he said.

“Those landlords who don’t follow the regulations and flout the law must be prosecuted. Local authorities have existing powers to target criminal landlords. It is essential they use these powers to protect tenants from illegal operators who blight the private rented sector.

“The NLA is concerned that additional licensing only alienates law abiding landlords and pushes criminal landlords further underground. After all, a rogue landlord is not going to apply for a license.

“It’s remarkable how bad landlords and bad tenants gravitate towards each other. Just as there is a minority of landlords who ignore the law, there are also tenants who do not respect the property they rent. Local authorities should work with landlords to tackle anti-social behaviour, rather than place the responsibility on the property owner.”

Reading Council agrees that the photos should not be taken out of context as examples of poor property management by landlords.

“Some of those photos were examples of bad management from landlords, some of those photos were of bad tenancy from tenants,” said a Reading Council spokesman. “The point we are trying to emphasise is what the council is attempting to clamp down on is bad management of properties full stop.”

Here are the images released by the council – you decide who’s the rogue, the landlord or tenant.

mess 1

Rubbish in living room


Filthy bedroom

Open drain


Piles of rubbish


Broken stair rail

Broken stair rail

Cockroaches on cooker

Cockroaches on cooker