A Tory MP is today introducing a Bill that will make it much easier for authorities to identify criminal landlords.
The measure is being introduced by the Conservative MP for Hornchurch and Upminister, Dame Angela Watkinson. If passed it would require tenants to provide details of their landlord on council tax registration forms.
Under the current law, when new occupants move into a house they are obliged to notify their local authority to establish council tax payments. Nowhere on the form does it ask the tenure of the property or, where it is rented, who the landlord is and what their contact details are.
The Draft Local Government Finance (Tenure Information) Bill would enable councils to request details of a property’s tenure and details of the landlord, if a rented property, on council tax registration forms. Tenants are already legally entitled to know the name of the landlord when signing a new tenancy agreement. Through tenants disclosing this to the local authority, it will make it much more difficult for criminal landlords to avoid being identified.
Where a tenant is unable to identify their landlord this would provide local authorities with a signal that there may be deliberate evasion and they will be able take appropriate action through identifying the owner of the property through the Land Registry.
Dame Angela says “the draft Bill has already been welcomed by the Citizens Advice Bureau and has cross Party support” and Alan Ward, chair of the Residential Landlords’ Association, says the measure “sends a powerful message to criminal landlords that you can run but you cannot hide.”