The majority of the UK agree that landlords should face greater punishment for housing offences and half see it as a significant issue.

A poll by YouGov Daily revealed that 71 per cent support greater punishment, including jail sentences, for landlords who commit offences under the Housing Act 2004.

The result comes after the Local Government Association (LGA) said last week that landlords who break the rules should face tougher punishments.

The LGA represents councils across England and Wales and told BBC Radio 5 live that a small minority of landlords are “creating misery” for tenants and that current punishments of "paltry fines" are making “no difference”.

The highest penalty currently is a fine, which in theory is unlimited, however the LGA say a lack of guidelines have forced magistrates to take landlords’ financial circumstances into consideration during sentences, resulting in an average fine of £1,500, and a maximum fine of £5,000.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of housing and homelessness charity Shelter, told i100.co.uk:

All too often, we hear from families renting homes riddled with hazards which their landlord refuses to do anything about. Sadly, when challenged many of these landlords get nothing more than a slap on the wrist with insignificant fines, meaning they can go back to business as usual.

It’s just not right – no one should have to live in a home that puts them or their children in danger. The courts have the powers to issue much higher fines that will actually stop these rogue landlords, but they need to start using them.

The government also has a chance to do its bit to protect private renters with the upcoming housing bill, from introducing a register of landlords, to giving local authorities the resources they need to stamp out rogue landlords in their area for good.

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