Hosts who break the law by exploiting their tenants should have their property confiscated, and a committee of Mps has concluded.
The members of the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) committee has said that vulnerable tenants need greater protection.
Many face retaliatory evictions, unfair rent increases and harassment.
During its investigation, the commission has heard that up to 25 people could be found living in three bedroom houses.
It is also the owners that the tenants pay up to £500 for a bed in a room with four bunk beds.
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The HCLG committee said that local authorities should be given powers to confiscate property from the worst landlords, or those who constantly take advantage of vulnerable tenants.
“The imbalance of power in the private rented sector means that tenants are most vulnerable, often, the lack of protection from property owners without scruples, that may threaten their retaliatory rent rises and eviction if they complain about unacceptable conditions in their homes,” said Clive Betts, chairman of the HCLG committee.
“Local authorities need the power to impose stronger fines against the owners of the house, and in the case of more serious offenders, in the last analysis, to be able to confiscate their property.”The fear of retaliation
However, a campaign group has said that the MPs had missed an opportunity to go beyond their recommendations.
“The law should protect the tenants of these criminals, but many do not complain about poor conditions, for fear that the master of the house is a punishment of a rent increase, or eviction,” said Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent.
“The tips are able to dispel these fears, but too many are failing to take meaningful enforcement action in response to complaints. You must do more to ensure private tenants whose side they are on.”
Successive governments have already hardened the law on rent.
The hosts are currently subject to civil penalties of up to £ 30,000, and those who break the law can be prohibited to bring on tenants.
But the committee said that the local authorities do not have sufficient resources to enforce the regulation.