The Local Government Association has called for a "new streamlined system" to deal with rogue landlords who they say are not being deterred by current measures.
Mike Jones, who chairs the Local Government Association's environment and housing board, said:
The current system for prosecuting rogue landlords is not fit for the 21st century.
Criminal landlords are exploiting this and endangering tenants' lives. They are treating the paltry fines as 'operating costs', which they are offsetting against the vast profits they are raking in.
We need 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 the rising levels of rogue landlords caused by the housing crisis. However, they are being hamstrung by a system racked by delays, bureaucracy and feeble fines.
More top news
A hacker group who claimed to be behind a cyber attack on Sony Pictures have posted a message online apparently mocking the FBI.
The returns of Benedict Cumberbatch's detective and the X Factor judge were among 2014's most tweeted TV moments in a billion conversations.
A family has issued an appeal to help find their missing pet turkey - in case he gets gobbled up as someone's Christmas dinner.