On the 19th of December Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London launched a new online Rogue Landlord and Agent database with the aim of ousting those who have been prosecuted or fined by specific London Boroughs. The database also holds records from the London Fire Service and highlights those removed from letting agent redress schemes.
Mr Khan believes that while most landlords and agents are committed to providing a good standard of service to their tenants there are still many out there who do not act in accordance with standards set in the industry.
The database can be accessed via the City Hall Website and contains information about private landlords and letting agents currently only from the London Boroughs of Brent, Camden, Greenwich, Islington, Kingston, Newham, Southwark, Sutton, Waltham Forest and Westminster. It is also apparent that other London Councils may also be brought in as soon as possible, with the aim of protecting tenants within these boroughs as well.
This aims to give tenants greater control and security in the sector and also acts to deter the small amount of unscrupulous landlords and lettings agents operating in the industry.
The Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker allows you to see:
- The full names of landlords and agents
- The type of offence, fine or enforcement action that was taken against them
- Who was responsible for the enforcement (for example, the Local Borough, London Fire Brigade or Redress Scheme)
- Address of the rental property where the offence occurred
- The street name and first four postcode digits of the landlord’s home address
It also gives people the opportunity to report any rogue activity from landlords and tenants with greater ease. Records appearing on the database checker will only be available for a limited amount of time and will list the date when it will then become unavailable to the public.
Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme, said:
“As Head of Redress, I welcome the Mayor of London’s initiative in launching this service. The Property Redress Scheme has signed up to provide details of London agents, who have been expelled from our scheme for not complying with a redress order and these now appear on the database for the public to see.
I also welcome the announcement this week that the Government will be implementing new banning orders and their own criminal database in April this year, applicable across England. However, the fine detail of this measure is still subject to finalisation. In particular, with regards to who will be able to access the database is still unclear. It appears that unlike the London version it will not be open to the general public and will not contain details of civil offences, such as not being a member of a redress scheme or displaying fees.
Banning orders will make it easier for tenants to obtain rent repayment orders, adding to the additional provisions on these which came into force last April. The forthcoming extension of the number of properties that will require HMO licencing may well also lead to more prosecutions and banning orders, so access to these databases by tenants and landlords will be essential. Landlords who are members of the NLA and want to find out if their properties are subject to licencing requirements can now easily check using a unique service provided in conjunction with Getrentr.
The effect on the industry of the naming and shaming of those elements of the sector who flout the law will be a powerful tool in forcing them out. It should also encourage the improvement of standards in general as the reputational damage of appearing on a watch list can be significant. However, public awareness is key to the success of such measures. Tenants and prospective tenants should be educated to undertake due diligence when selecting a property to rent and check the landlord and the agent they use.
The benefits of data sharing between the authorities is also beneficial as further enforcement is key to ensuring the sector is protected from the rogue element.”
To find out more about the new database visit the City Hall website here.