Nottingham City Council has been defending plans to bring in stricter rules over "to let" boards in student areas.
It is to ask central government to remove the right for people to freely put up the signs.
The council said there were too many cluttering up the streets and that they can make properties a target for crime.
Landlords said there was legislation already in place which the council could not enforce.
The areas Nottingham City Council want to put restrictions on include Lenton, Dunkirk, Mansfield Road, Derby Road and Forest Road West.
Jane Urquhart, portfolio holder for transport at Nottingham City Council, said it was not calling for an outright ban.
The council said the new powers were being asked for after the unsuccessful introduction of a Voluntary Code in 2009.
"We haven't got any fewer signs, any uniformity, we haven't got a moratorium period at all.
"That's why we want to put this on a firm legal footing."
Shad Ali, from East Midlands Property Owners which represents landlords and property investors, has criticised the plans.
"There is already legislation in place that allows councils to deal with excessive use of letting boards.
"Enforcement is fine if you've got the staff to do it but we've seen already that that isn't the case.
"The suggestion that letting boards is going to stop people breaking into houses is absolutely nonsense."
"I was born in Lenton and spent all my life there. Lenton was a target area for criminals way back 20 years ago," he said.