British Property Federation director Ian Fletcher told the Chartered Institute of Housing annual conference that councils in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where such schemes already exist, “have made little use of them” to crack down on bad practice.
Under the proposals on which the government is currently consulting, all private landlords will have to apply for a licence which will be revoked if tenants are offered a poor service, for instance if maintenance or repairs are not undertaken.
Councils will police the system, which has been estimated to cost £2.5bn.
Mr Fletcher told the Local Government Chronicle: “The reason councils have not made the most of the schemes in Northern Ireland and Scotland is possibly down to resources but if it is going to work in England, councils need to be a bit proactive about it.
“The landlords we represent want a good system but they need to see that it is going to be useful and not something that they pay for and then bad landlords continue operating as they have done before.”