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Graham Awards


Ditch licensing and introduce Property Passports, says lettings chief

The concept of a so-called rental property passport would rapidly improve the quality of accommodation and landlords, and would be far fairer than the slew of licensing schemes now in force.

That’s the view of Theresa Wallace, head of lettings customer relations at Savills and current chair of The Lettings Industry Council.

The passport would work like this:


- it would emulate the DVLA model which handles the records of 48m drivers and 40m vehicles, but would be on a much smaller scale for the 6m or so private rented properties;

- each rental property would have a unique reference number (which already exists with HM Land Registry, though is seldom called into use by the industry);

- any property without such a unique number would not be ‘official’, so could perhaps have been illegally converted;

- every advertisement for a lettings property to rent must include its unique reference number;

- every advertisement would also include the equivalent of a ‘property MOT’ certificate to ensure it had passed appropriate tests. 

Wallace, speaking at The Property Ombudsman conference, said Hunters had already successfully trialled this scheme, and that the Lettings Industry Council had sourced a not-for-profit supplier who may be able to operate a PropTech portal on which the properties could be viewed by the public and Trading Standards.

“We do believe there is a place for larger HMO licensing schemes, but there has to be a better solution to additional and selective licensing” Wallace told delegates - and she believed that the property MOT and passport scheme was it.

Poll: Would a Property Passport system be better than licensing?


  • Paul Smithson

    Passports for tenants, please.


    No need for the little darlings can do no wrong.

    Julian  Sharpe

    Landlords need to be vetted by tenants so that a landlord can prove their worthiness to rent a satisfactory property that complies with UK regulations.

    Currently, tenants already provide enough information for landlords, including their passports for identity purposes. They also until recently, paid for the landlord to view their references which included sensitive data about them. It is unfair that landlords are not referenced, since the tenant hands over pocketfuls of cash to someone who may be a rogue landlord that rents out shoddy housing.

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    Expressed as a percentage I bet there are more MP's fiddling expenses than there are landlords providing substandard accommodation.

  • Mike Georgeson

    Tenant passports already exist on RentalStep. Over 10,000 tenants have one.

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    Problem with Tenant passports is there needs to be an agreed standard of referencing that produces the passport - all referencing firms use different process - so until that could be agreed it's a wasted document.

  • Paul Conway

    The property market is going through so big changes and landlords are being forced to professionalise, whatever happens should be for the good of the customer, the tenant.

    Paul Conway
    HMO Services

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    • 12 July 2019 21:39 PM

    There is uncertainty as to whether refusing to consider a tenant unless they present their Tenant Passport with the tenant paying is banned by the TFA
    There is ambiguity and I know for a fact that LRS who provide some of the best referencing refuse to allow a tenant to buy their own TRP.
    LRS justifiably do not wish to be a test case.
    So until the Govt confirms that with Govt legal opinion that a LL does not commit an offence if they insist that a tenant provides a TRP for the LL to even consider them.
    This is NOT requiring them to obtain their TRP as any tenant has the right to not be considered which they could achieve by not obtaining their TRP.
    Their CHOICE!!!

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    Sorry but tenants are not customers but end users. Customers pay you for a service that you make a profit on not a home.. paying for a home in this context are users/leasers of the product.. do HA or say Council see them as customers. No.. and I’ve been in the public sector in housing and the private sector for over 5 years and 30 respectively. Get with the flow folks. It’s all about votes not what’s good for the general public. Unfortunately most are not intelligent enough to know. Ask a tenant to change a fuse then tell me they are customers...

    Julian  Sharpe

    Whatever a tenant is in your view, they have to right to demand a LL is 'fit and proper' to rent satisfactory housing that meets UK standards before they hand over large amounts of cash and enter into a contract for months or maybe years with what could be a dodgy landlord with a shoddy two bit shack of a property.

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    • 12 July 2019 23:43 PM

    Isn't this so much semantics though!?
    End users!?
    Perhaps clients!?
    I get tenants may not be consumers.
    But then consumers can be looked after by those providing the service.
    Like perhaps Curry's assisting a CUSTOMER who is having problems with a TV they have recently purchased.
    But absolutely the PRS is in the business of providing services and certainly NOT homes!!
    It may well be that tenant mistakenly consider their rental accommodation as their home
    So perhaps tenant clients is a better descriptor.
    Clients one tends to look after.............like sorting out a fuse
    LL provide an accommodation service; they are NOT in the business of providing security of tenure.
    LL must always retain the ability to liquidate their investment assets if they so choose to do without any influence from the end users!
    Tenant clients must surely appreciate that they are provided rental accommodation at the behest of the LL.
    There is no guarantee and can never be any guarantee that the LL will remain in the market providing rental accommodation.
    There seems to be a political belief that LL should be in the business of providing security of tenure for terms that tenants desire.
    Effectively for the tenant to control what a LL does with his private capital.
    This simply cannot be countenanced.
    If LL are prevented from controlling their capital they will simply sell up.
    No use therefore to man or beast!!

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    Well put. I do think the government are assuming LL should act like HA and this new nanny state does not help. They need votes. More tenants vote than LL. I think I like user better though. When I get Emergancy phone calls such as recently at 11.45pm to inform me of a frog in the kitchen that I must send someone to remove as it’s an emergency (which is entirely true) I just can’t put client in the same sentence as tenant. We all know many MPs are also LL. Boris I am informed has two properties. I expect not in the lower rental bracket. Shame as he’s probably not come across HB or UC etc.

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    • 13 July 2019 10:00 AM

    It might seem counter-intuitive but the easier Govt makes it for LL to manage their businesses the more LL will choose to stay in the market providing those vitally needed accommodation services.
    It is only because Govt is making it harder for LL that many are choosing to leave the market or not bother with becoming a LL.
    I have always said that the easier it is made to get rid of miscreant tenants the more likely it is that LL would be prepared to countenance risking letting to more difficult tenants many of whom are languishing in very expensive TA.
    Govt by it's very attempts to give tenants security actually introduces INSECURITY!!
    LL will NOT allow themselves to be controlled by Govt as some sort of quasi social housing providers.
    I would question as to whether tenants would vote Tory if it is realised that Govt actions to introduce security for tenants actually achieve the opposite!!
    Reduced availability of rental stock hardly gives the security that tenants allegedly crave.
    The best security that may be provided by LL for tenants is that which encourages market rents and facilitates near enough complete control by the LL of his rental properties.
    Those are massive incentives for LL to remain in the market which de facto gives tenants security that there are rental properties available.
    It is pointless having rent controlled secure properties if there are no LL to provide such!!
    The whole exercise becomes somewhat pointless!
    I do believe that the PTB and tenants have a mistaken perception that LL will continue to be LL come what may.
    I do believe that gradually this perception is being recognised as a false one.
    But it will be too late before everyone realises this.
    As happened in Ireland the LL left and now there is a massive homelessness problem.
    The Irish Govt is now desperately trying to persuade LL to return.
    Understandably many LL simply don't want to play anymore.
    Many have effectively taken early retirement and show no signs of being willing to be coaxed out of that retirement.
    With the age demographics of UK LL this is what is happening here.
    Many LL were 5 to 10 years away from exiting the PRS.
    They have just brought forward those plans earlier than they might.
    They don't see things improving in the next 10 years so not unreasonably they are determining that enough is enough and are getting out while the going is reasonably good.
    Not good news for tenant security at all!!!

    Julian  Sharpe

    The problem is that LL see housing as a type of commodity to profit from instead of a human beings right to safe, secure affordable housing.

    LLs should be forced to rent any additional empty property they have, set at government rent controls. Housing should not be provided for profit, but by social enterprise and as housing is limited, the government should sieze these empty spaces and use them for those who are in need, instead of the current system that lines its own pockets while children sleep rough.


    The problem is that Grocers see food as a type of commodity to profit from instead of a human beings right to safe, secure affordable nourishment.

    Grocers should be forced to sell any additional surplus food they have, set at government price controls. Food should not be provided for profit, but by social enterprise and as food is limited, the government should seize any surplus provisions and use them for those who are in need, instead of the current system that lines its own pockets while children go hungry.

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    • 14 July 2019 09:52 AM

    AHH David you old Commie you trying to emulate the idiot Mr Sharpe!!!!!!
    Indeed let us have the workers owning the means of production etc etc.
    I do believe such radical policies have been previously tried.
    It didn't end well!!!
    Always remember the Chinese ambassador being asked whether the French Revolution had been a success.
    His response was he didn't know as it was too early to tell!!!
    I always love it when you have idiots like Mr Sharpe determining what I should be allowed to do with my capital.
    I like the fact that Mr Sainsbury makes a profit as it means he can keep a store open for my convenience.
    I accept that for Services to be made available for me a PROFIT had to be made.
    A fair exchange I believe!!

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    Paul it was intended as an ironic comment,parodying my Sharpe's words, to demonstrate just how stupid it is to expect private landlords to supply property without making a profit.

    • 14 July 2019 15:31 PM

    Yep I thought it was quite a funny parody to show up the ridiculousness of Sharpe's ideology.

  • Bryan Shields

    The problem with this type of approach is that the tenant has no stake in looking after the proprty,such as having a deposit to lose.


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