A senior Labour MP is calling for a national register of private landlords to stop vulnerable tenants being forced to live in poor accommodation.
Sir Alan Meale, MP for Mansfield, believes thousands of tenants are paying over the odds to live sub-standard housing.
The MP is also in favour of stricter regulations for letting agents and insists the law needs changing to ensure all tenancy agreements are made in writing.
Sir Alan said: “In truth, the private rented sector is not the market it should or needs to be.
“We are not talking about taking this under a state scheme or anything else. This is purely protection and lifting the private rented sector to a level that will give all our constituents the chance to live decently.”
He added: “There are too many rogue landlords who particularly prey on vulnerable tenants. This small but dangerous minority of rogue landlords quite frankly make people’s lives an absolute misery.
“They condemn their tenants… to live in rundown, unsafe and very often over-crowded properties. What is more, they regularly intimidate those who speak out.
“It is fair to say that despite an increase in prosecutions against such landlords, the problem is getting considerably worse.”
The comments were made as Sir Alan proposed his Private Landlords and Letting and Managing Agents (Regulation) Bill in the House of Commons.
Sir Alan said some agencies were charging unjustifiably high fees, including up to £250 just to check a tenant’s references.
MPs in opposition claimed there was already enough regulation in the private rented sector and labelled the bill a “socialist tax” and like “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.
Debate on the Bill is scheduled to resume on Friday November 1.