Rogue landlords to be named and shamed
Rogue landlords are set to be exposed by the government and outed to the public for the first time.
The Government is preparing to make its database of dodgy landlords available for public consumption.
There's nothing worse than a nightmare landlord - some people have come home to find their locks changed and all their possessions scattered across the front lawn, others discover massive faults with the property that are ignored.
In my case, a landlord illegally withheld a deposit repayment for close to six months.
It's time these con artists were named and shamed so everyone knows what total shysters they are.
Since last April, the Government has been collating a database of serious and prolific criminal landlords, but so far its contents have only been available to local authorities.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is now consulting on whether this database should be open to tenants – as well as whether its scope should be widened to include less serious offenders.
Under its current scope, the database holds information on landlords convicted of crimes like harassment, fraud, criminal damage, or permitting too many people to live in one property.
But this could change to include offences such as engaging in a prohibited unfair commercial practice, charging tenants an unfair fee, failing to belong to a redress scheme, or failing to deal with pests such as mice or rats.
Secretary of State for Housing James Brokenshire said: 'This database has the potential to ensure that the worst landlords are banned and it is right that we unlock this crucial information for new tenants.'
Dan Wilson Craw, director of tenant campaign group Generation Rent, said: 'Renters have to provide references from employers and previous landlords before a landlord hands over the keys to a new flat.
'So it is only fair that renters get the opportunity to check that a prospective landlord doesn't have a criminal record.'
The consultation closes on 12 October 2019.
This weekend the Government also took another step towards banning 'no fault' evictions as it launched a 12-week consultation.
Proposed earlier this year, scrapping what is known as Section 21 of the Housing Act would limit landlords' ability to evict tenants at short notice and without good reason.
This has been seen as a major victory for campaign groups who have long argued that this would put an end to so called 'revenge evictions' by unscrupulous landlords.
But landlords have warned that this would hit vulnerable tenants as it could make property investors more selective over who they rent to.
David Smith of the Residential Landlords Association said: 'Section 21 notices are not used for no reason.
'Our research found that of those who had used the process some 84 per cent had used it because of tenant rent arrears, 56 per cent because of damage to a property and 51 per cent because of anti-social behaviour.'
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