The call from the Local Government Association follows a survey in which 90% of local authorities reported that pedlars were a problem and in some areas were linked to local gangs.
Councils are reporting that trading by pedlars is a growing problem on local high streets due to outdated and confusing regulations, which offer little protection to consumers.
The LGA surveyed councils and found that 51 out of 57 local authorities reported that peddlers were a problem in their area, while three councils already had local legislation in place to improve the way peddlers were regulated.
Fifty-four of the 57 councils supported new national legislation, which is favoured by the LGA to give councils the powers they need to regulate peddlers across the country.
Any rule change would update the 1871 and 1881 Pedlars Acts which fail to regulate trade in busy shopping streets or at fairs and resorts.
Thirteen councils, including Manchester City Council, are seeking private bills from Parliament to bring local pedlars under the same rules that apply to licensed street traders.
Hazel Harding, chair of the safer communities board of the LGA, said:
"The view of pedlars as harmless rogue Del Boy types is long gone.
"The scale of this problem is such that there must be new national legislation to give councils in all areas the power to regulate pedlars properly, rather than relying on councils promoting numerous local bills."