COUNCILLORS have resolved to crack down on rogue landlords who are exploiting their tenants.

At last week's full meeting of Bury Council, a Liberal Democrat motion calling on the council to advocate a scheme in which all private sector landlords would need to be licensed was passed.

The council has committed to increasing the uptake and awareness of the Landlord Accreditation Scheme, which currently covers fewer than 1.5 per cent of rented properties in the borough.

Cllr Tim Pickstone, Bury's Liberal Democrat leader, said: "Private rented housing accounts for 14 per cent of housing in the borough. I won't condemn all landlords as evil figures and they make an important contribution to our economy. But there are problems.

"Although the vast majority of rented accommodation is great, there are examples everywhere of houses that are badly kept and where landlords are exploiting their tenants.

"What we would like to see is a much more professional system where private landlords need a kind of license.

"Local government also needs to be adequately resourced to provide advice to private tenants."

Cllr Mary d'Albert said: "We have lots of young people who can't afford to get on the housing market, but who want independence. A system like this could help them to achieve that."

The council also resolved to continue working with Six Town Housing to bring empty properties back into use and to seek the support of the borough's MPs.

Cllr Rishi Shori, the deputy leader of the council, had earlier addressed the number of rented houses in Bury considered unfit for human habitation.

He added : "I am acutely aware that the private rented sector, which is home to some of our poorest and most vulnerable residents, has some of the worst housing standards.

"Dominated by small scale landlords, including accidental landlords who may not fully understand their requirements, problems can be difficult to identify until tenants report problems.

"The most recent evidence of stock condition comes from a national survey in 2013 which indicated that 30 per cent of private sector stock could be non-decent."

The Conservative group proposed an amendment to the motion, recognising the government's work in tackling rogue landlords and revenge evictions, which was voted down by opposing councillors.

Cllr Iain Gartside said: "We all agree with a lot of this, but I think there is an implication that the good work done in the last Parliament hasn't been carried on, and we want to make clear that it has."