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Tenants Will Soon Have Access to Rogue Landlord Database

By 2 min read • July 31, 2019
Lines of code denoting a landlord database

When news of a rogue landlord database was published, tenant campaigners were delighted. Allowing tenants to check whether a prospective landlord had committed enough offences to be classed as a ‘rogue landlord’ seemed like an excellent way to afford greater protection to tenants.

But it soon became apparent that the rogue landlord database was not much use in practice, as the only people with access to the information were local authorities.

Things are about to change. There are reforms in the pipeline, which will allow the general public to check names on the rogue landlord database. This about-turn has come following an investigation by ITV and the Guardian, which caused an uproar when it was revealed that names on the database were deliberately being hidden from public scrutiny.

Theresa May Promises Reforms to Rogue Landlord Register

If Theresa May keeps her promise, tenants and any other interested parties will be able to check whether a landlord has been convicted of property, drugs, or sex offences. Letting agents are also included in the database, so they can’t hide either.

James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government, says: “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. Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.”

Hardly Any Names in the Rogue Landlord Database

Unfortunately, the database is sparsely populated with rogue landlords. Only a small number of names have been added to the database since it’s inception in 2018. Indeed, the Guardian discovered that only four rogue landlords had their names in the database at the beginning of the year.

The government says this is because the judicial process is slow and it takes time for rogue landlords to be successfully prosecuted. Defending the rogue landlord database, the government adds that in time, several hundred of the worst offenders will end up on the register.

A Victory for Renters

Housing charities are pleased the government has decided to open up the register. Shelter says a public rogue landlord database helps tenants protect “themselves and their families” and Generation Rent describes the news as a “victory for renters”.

But both charities are still pushing for the government to abolish Section 21 no-fault evictions, despite criticism from landlord pressure groups, who say this will cause irreparable damage to the private rental sector.

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