What the new system identifying rogue landlords means for the industry

 

For the first time, the UK now has a database of all the nation’s rogue landlords and letting agents which councils can view and share in order to monitor the culprits. However, the system has come under fire from one national body for not being open to the public.

A recent crackdown on criminal landlords has led to new measures being put in place by the government, including the introduction of a comprehensive list operated by local councils identifying landlords who have been convicted of housing offences such as letting overcrowded properties, fire and gas safety breaches, fraud and illegal evictions.

New banning orders also take effect from this month which mean that landlords convicted of certain offences can be banned from operating.

The government hopes to crack down on the “small minority” of landlords who flout the law by renting out poor or overcrowded accommodation, by making it easier for councils to keep track of their activity. The database will also allow the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government to publish figures on the numbers of landlords and letting agents who have been banned or received penalties, to increase transparency in the sector.

However, the move has come under fire by ARLA Propertymark, a UK professional body for letting agents, which has labelled it “pointless” because the information is currently only available to councils.

New measures changing the PRS

David Cox, chief executive at ARLA, said: “It is disappointing. When this legislation was first announced, we were wildly supportive. Anything which will help eradicate bad letting agents and landlords has our full support.

“The database won’t be public, which means no one will be able to see it and therefore letting agents and landlords who are on the list can continue operating with impunity. This appears to be a pointless exercise.”

“If the list were made public, like the equivalent for estate agents, rogue agents and landlords would leave the market for good.”

A number of new measures are currently under review for the private rented sector (PRS), including the Draft Tenant Fees Bill which could see rental deposits capped at six weeks, as well as the creation of a new Housing Ombudsman to create a more efficient redress scheme for consumers. A new code of practice is also set to be introduced to make the system fairer for both renters and leaseholders.

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What the new system identifying rogue landlords means for the industry

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