Rogue landlord database criticised for being closed to public

The national database containing a list of rogue letting agents has come under scrutiny as it is not accessible to the public.

Recently launched, the database enables councils to easily view landlords who have been convicted of housing, immigration and various criminal offences, in a bid to crack down on rogue landlords.

The aim, according to Housing Minister Heather Wheeler, is to help councils share information so they can watch out for those individuals with a poor record. She said: ‘Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.

‘The database will be available to use by councils to crackdown on poor and unfair practice in the private rented sector such as overcrowded, squalid or dangerous accommodation, and to help target their enforcement action.’

For those who are convicted under the new legislation, they could be subject to banning orders; these stop them from leasing accommodation for a set amount of time set out. If this is ignored, they could be subject to criminal sanctions.

Whilst providing councils with access to this kind of information could be beneficial, the launch of the database has been criticised by a national landlord organisation. The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) highlight that the register is not accessible to the public, which they claim doesn’t go far enough.

David Cox, Chief Executive of the organisation stated: ‘It is disappointing. When this legislation was first announced, we were wildly supportive. Anything which will help eradicate bad letting agents and landlords has our full support.

‘The database won’t be public, which means no one will be able to see it and therefore letting agents and landlords who are on the list can continue operating with impunity. This appears to be a pointless exercise. If the list were made public, like the equivalent for estate agents, rogue agents and landlords would leave the market for good.’

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