The UK Government plans to provide tenants with access to the Rogue Landlord Database, but this may prove to be a pointless exercise without better enforcement, warns the National Landlords Association (NLA).
The Rogue Landlord Database was launched in 2018 and includes a list of landlords and letting agents who fail to provide proper accommodation or have been convicted of serious offences.
Database kept a secret
Earlier this year, the Government received heavy criticism for keeping listings on the database a secret from prospective tenants. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) responded by launching a consultation, proposing to allow tenants access to the Rogue Landlords Database, as well proposing to extend the list of failed landlords.
James Brokenshire, Communities Secretary, commented: “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.”
Mr Brokenshire added that landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.
While the NLA welcomes the idea of giving tenants access to the Rogue Landlord Database, it warns that this action may be ineffective, while the Government doesn’t take stricter action against criminal landlords.
Chris Norris, director of policy and practice at the NLA, commented: “It’s all well and good to open the database up to tenants, but if local authorities aren’t using the powers they have to identify and enforce against these landlords, it’s not really going to be of much use to anyone.”
Mr Norris added: “The inability of local authorities to enforce against bad practice is the main issue facing the private rented sector (PRS).”
Mr Norris concluded that, instead of spending time and money on a consultation, the Government would be better off giving that money to local authorities, for the sole purpose of tackling criminal landlords.