There’s been a sceptical response to news leaked from government over the weekend suggesting that a database of rogue landlords would be opened up to prospective tenants, and widened in scope.
The government over the weekend launched a consultation on the future scope database, which was introduced last year under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 as a tool for councils in England to monitor rogue landlords and property agents.
Under the act, a local housing authority must make an entry on the database where a landlord or property agent has received a Banning Order; currently only council have access to the database but the government is considering allow tenants to see it too.
"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" according to weekend statements by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire.
"Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences."
The move will be open to a 12-week consultation which will also consider whether to widen the scope of the rogue list to more housing-related offences, such as breaching the Tenant Fees Act.
But the National Landlords Association warns that the idea of opening up the Rogue Landlords Database may be a pointless exercise.
Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Practice at the NLA, says: “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.
“The inability of local authorities to enforce against bad practice is the main issue facing the private rented sector. 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.”