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Landlords' group opposes ARLA-approved 'rogue agents register'

The Residential Landlords Association has broken ranks with the Association of Residential Letting Agents by opposing an ARLA-backed public database of rogue agents and landlords. 

The database has been proposed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and is backed by a number of groups including the National Landlords Association as well as ARLA plus housing campaigning organisations such as Generation Rent and Shelter. 

However, the RLA claims the database will do little to root out rogue operators.

It claims that in 2015/16 just 411 landlords were prosecuted by councils in London, of which 70 per cent were in one borough, Newham, which has provided more funding than any other council for proper enforcement action.

The RLA says that rather than duplicating a database, which the government is already establishing under the 2016 Housing and Planning Act, the Mayor should work with the next government to secure funding for proper enforcement. 

“Another database is not the answer. Such lists do nothing to help find criminal landlords in the first place. After all, they are hardly likely to come forward to register to go on it” says RLA policy director David Smith.

  • Barry X

    Whilst a publicly searchable "naming and shaming" database is a good idea in theory it is more likely to be
    (a) ineffective in solving any of the 'real' problems, just as the RLA rightly says, but worse still
    (b) various interest groups will probably find ways to abuse it, e.g. by using it to "name and shame" landlords who are (for whatever reasons) slow or perhaps reluctant to pay for various local authority "registration schemes" or perhaps in future (when it comes) decide not to pay to participate in LA sponsored "training" for landlords or something.

    If there were some magic wand that could be waved to enable the administrators of this proposed database to generate an up to date and accurate list of genuinely rouge landlords, such as those renting "beds in sheds", or operating demonstrably unsafe or overcrowded HMOs, then fine. But they already have powers to seek out and prosecute those landlords yet normally fail to find or deal with more than a tiny percentage.

    Personally I'm both skeptical and a little suspicious of this latest proposal. I'm watching for the various bogus excuses to justify then force it upon us, make us pay for it, then use it for purposes other than those it was claimed to be created to address.

    Most likely it'll be the start of, or a step towards, some sort of compulsory national registration scheme that every landlord (and letting agent of course) is suppose to pay to get onto the "white list"of, then keep paying to stay on.

    It will be interesting to see.

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