Two recent calls for the introduction of a national mandatory landlord register in England have been rebuffed by agents’ trade body ARLA Propertymark.
Timothy Douglas, policy and campaigns officer, says: “Propertymark does not believe that licensing schemes are an effective way of promoting higher quality accommodation in the private rented sector. This is because most schemes fail as they are not adequately resourced to undertake the necessary enforcement activity.”
Earlier this week the activist group Generation Rent demanded the government introduce a landlord register in England, with its leader - Baroness Alicia Kennedy - saying that landlord registration would give enforcement authorities valuable intelligence about this sector, make it easier to inform tenants of their rights, and prevent criminals from renting out homes in the first place.
This call was taken up by a think tank, the Centre for Public Data, which wanted such a register to be made easily searchable for tenants, and integrated with other property databases for EPCs, deposit protection and holiday accommodation.
CFPD director Anna Powell-Smith said earlier this week: “In England, you have to register to run a takeaway or work as an art therapist, but anyone can be a landlord – remarkable given how dangerous it is to live in a property with faulty wiring, boilers or mould. A patchwork of schemes will never give renters the protection they need and are an inefficient use of council resources. A national register will be cheaper to run and more effective in raising standards.”
However, ARLA Propertymark’s Timothy Douglas remains unconvinced.
He’s told Letting Agent Today: “The licensing regime becomes an administrative exercise, penalising those landlords who comply with the regulations whilst still allowing the landlords that the scheme was designed to target to continue operating under the radar.
“Consequently, a national landlord register on its own is not the magical solution to improve the effectiveness of property licensing.
“Ultimately, we believe that full mandatory government regulation of letting agents, including landlords fully-managing property, is the quickest and most effective way of driving up standards in the private rented sector.”