Rogue agents to be exposed in new ‘name and shame’ database
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is to name and shame criminal letting agents and landlords on a new public database.
The Association of Residential letting Agents have backed the new database which is to partner with councils across London and will be published on the Mayor’s website. The database will publicly name landlords and letting agents who have been prosecuted for housing related offences.
The Mayor hopes the database will allow tenants to check prospective landlords or agents before agreeing to a tenancy and will deter agents or landlords from acting dishonestly.
The site is due to launch in autumn and will allow councils across London to share the criminal history of landlords and provide further information on enforcement activity and investigations. Tenants will be able to search the database for criminal landlords or agents and report any suspected criminal activity through London.gov.uk
Six councils, Newham, Brent, Camden, Kingston and Sutton are already involved in the development of the website with many other boroughs expected to join after the official launch in autumn.
Khan joined a criminal enforcement raid in Newham which was carried out under the borough’s licensing scheme for private rented properties. Neham council, the first local authority granted licensing, has prosecuted 1,100 criminal landlords and banned 28 landlords from practicing. This is more than any other boroughs in London. Khan has written to the government to support the renewal of the licensing scheme which is due to expire in December this year.
The Mayor also announced his plans to develop a new property portal, Homes for Londoners, which will be active through City Hall’s website and aims to advertise affordable homes to buy and rent in the capital.
“I refuse to stand by as thousands of Londoners suffer sky-high rents and horrendous living conditions in a city they call home. Today I have seen first-hand the abysmal conditions that some of London’s private renters are forced to endure as a result of rogue landlords. I want to be clear that the vast majority of landlords treat renters well – but a minority are exploiting their tenants and it’s simply unacceptable. This must stop now” said Khan.
The move was welcomed by David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, who said: “We have campaigned for the government’s database of banned letting agents to be publicly available as, with no public access to the database, how will landlords or tenants know if they are using a banned agent?”
He added that the database will provide a level of confidence to tenants and landlords reassuring them their agent has not committed any offences.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, also backed the initiative saying: “It’s the first time renters have had a central online tool that should take some of the stress out of reporting potentially criminal housing conditions to their local authority.”
Full article available on LettingAgentTODAY: https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/4/named-and-shamed–arla-backs-mayors-rogue-agents-database