The government has launched a national database to track rogue landlords in the UK. Set up by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG), the database aims to name and shame landlords convicted of housing and criminal offences and force them out of the sector. The ministry hopes this will help tenants live in safer environments. However, the database has been received with criticism as it is not accessible to the public.
Here’s what you need to know about the new system in place since 6 April.
Local housing authorities enter rogue landlords and property agents into the database. They are required to do this by law as set out by the Housing and Planning Act 2016. The database exists to help councils share information about offenders and target their crackdown on the private rented sector’s unfair practices. The database itself is not public, but councils can decide locally what information they want to share with tenants. They’re encouraged by the government to publish information about banned landlords as and when they see fit.
It remains dubious whether the system will rid unlawful landlords from the sector – which includes 4.7 million households in England – or not. David Cox from the Association of Residential Letting Agents has voiced his concerns, saying that because the database won’t be public, “no one will be able to see it and therefore letting agents and landlords who are on the list can continue operating with impunity.”
A rogue landlord or property agent is one who has a banning order or who has received two or more civil penalties within a year. Banning orders are given for various violations including leasing overcrowded properties or providing dangerous accommodation, for example, by breaching fire safety regulations. A banning order can also be related to illegal evictions. Landlords who have received a banning order must stop leasing the property for a certain amount of time, or in some cases, for life. Landlords who let out substandard accommodation also face fines of up to £30,000.
In their guidance material to local authorities, HCLG writes that although there are rogue landlords and property agents who knowingly rent out substandard properties, the majority of landlords do provide decent and well-managed accommodation. However, tenancy relations are double-sided, and no matter how decent a landlord is, landlord-tenant disputes may and do happen. As landlord solicitors, London-based Romain Coleman can step in if legal action needs to be taken.
We can promptly deal with any tenant related issue, so get in touch today and find out more about our services for landlords today.