Eighteen months after the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) introduced a database to enable local authorities to register banning order offences against serious rogue landlords and property agents, proposals to enable the database to be publicly available and over a wider range of offences are now being in consultation.
The database was recently described as a ‘flop’ by national newspapers after one found via a freedom of information request that there were just 12 landlord names on it despite there being an estimated 10,500 ‘rogue’ landlords who continue to rent out properties, a fact that ARLA described as ‘shocking’.
MHCLG has opened a consultation asking the property industry and tenants to give their views on whether the scope of the data base ought to be widened to include a greater scope of offences and whether agents, tenants and prospective tenants should have access to the database.
Agents needs to hurry, though; the consultation closes on 12 October 2019.
The Ministry of Housing has confirmed that the private rented sector houses 4.5 million people and whilst the majority of private landlords offer acceptable properties for rent and comply with their obligations, there is a “small number of rogue landlords and property agents who knowingly flout their legal obligations and rent out substandard accommodation.”
The aim of The Ministry of Housing is to adjust the power in the landlord and tenant relationship and provide prospective tenants with sufficient information to enable them to decide who to rent from. This proposal is no surprise in light of the recent raft of tenant friendly legislation being introduced such as the Tenant Fees Ban and The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.
“The consultation serves as a reminder to landlord clients to ensure they comply with their legal obligations and to keep their property portfolio under review to ensure strict compliance,” says Laura Ford of Boyes Turner LLP.