The government has opened a consultation ‘seeking views on widening access and considering the scope of the database of rogue landlords and property agents’.
James Brokenshire, who was at the time of the consultation launch the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, says England has around 10,500 landlords and letting agents who regularly flout the law, but this is not supported by numbers who come before the courts, with an average one or two prosecutions a week. Currently, the database is an enforcement tool only available to local authorities.
Instead it is proposed that the rogue database should be accessible to the wider public to help them make informed decisions before renting a home.
“This database has the potential to ensure that poor quality homes across the country are improved and the worst landlords are banned and it is right that we unlock this crucial information for new and prospective tenants,” said Brokenshire.
“Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.”
To open the database, the government must pass a new law and is consulting on who can access the information and what landlords and letting agents must do to be added to the list.
To join the database, a landlord or letting agent must have a banning order against their name as a result of being convicted of carrying out one of several serious offences, such as harassing tenants or breaking house in multiple occupation licence conditions.
The final decisions on any new law will come after the consultation closes in October.
“The majority of landlords in the private rented sector provide decent and well-managed accommodation, but there is a small number of rogue landlords and property agents who knowingly flout their legal obligations and rent out substandard accommodation,” says the consultation.
“We are committed to rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords to deliver a fairer, more affordable and better quality private rented sector.”