The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched the Greater London Authority’s (GLA’s) Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker, giving those letting properties in the capital “nowhere to hide” if they try to exploit tenants.
Yesterday, the first such blacklist in the country was launched, naming and shaming landlords and agents that have been successfully prosecuted and faced civil enforcement action for housing offences. There is also information from redress schemes about agents that have been expelled.
The idea behind the new database is to provide greater confidence to those looking to rent in London, by enabling them to check a prospective landlord or letting agent, with a view to ultimately deterring rogues from operating in the industry in the capital.
A private part of the database allows local authorities and the London Fire Brigade to share more detailed information about landlord and letting agent offences.
Database of Rogue Landlords and Letting Agents Launched in London
The launch comes ahead of the national blacklist, which was expected in October, but is now due for launch by the Department for Communities and Local Government in April.
However, while this is set to only be available to local councils and central Government, the London database is available to the public. On the public part of the database, records will be available in most cases for just 12 months, due to restrictions in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
Landlords and agents are notified of their proposed inclusion on the database, and are given the opportunity to make a representation to have their details removed.
Ahead of yesterday’s launch, records from ten London boroughs and the London Fire Brigade were published on the database. The ten London boroughs rolling out the database at this stage are: Brent, Camden, Greenwich, Islington, Kingston, Newham, Southwark, Sutton, Waltham Forest, and Westminster.
Councillor Muhammed Butt, the Leader of Brent council, says: “Our inclusion in this first wave reflects the trailblazing work carried out by our licensing enforcement team in cracking down on rogue landlords who exploit tenants.
“Brent has played a key role in helping the GLA to design how the system works. We believe the GLA database will further empower renters in Brent against criminal landlords, and continue to raise living standards within the borough.”
Brent’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, Councillor Harbi Farah, adds: “We want to put an end to rogue landlords exploiting the housing crisis by taking money from tenants living in poorly managed properties and in sub-standard conditions.
“The Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker is a deterrent to any landlord thinking of going down that route. It will also empower tenants to make the best possible choice about who they decide to pay their rent to.”
A further eight boroughs – Barking and Dagenham, Croydon, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Lewisham, Redbridge, and Tower Hamlets – have agreed to submit records in the coming weeks.
Khan hopes that the remaining London councils will add their data, although he does not hold powers to enforce this.
As well as records on prosecutions and enforcement action, the database will offer tenants a tool to easily report landlords and agents that they suspect of unscrupulous practices.
Khan said: “Many landlords and agents across London offer a great service – but, sadly, some don’t. My new database is about empowering Londoners to make informed choices about where they rent, and sending rogue operators a clear message: you have nowhere to hide.
“Boroughs on the database and I are using our existing powers to help London’s renters – but to go much further, we need investment and resources from central Government.”
He urged: “For a start, they should stop dragging their feet on the creation of the compulsory national database they promised to set up.
“Before ministers have even laid the regulations for their database, we’ve planned, built and launched ours – and, unlike the Government’s plans, we have made our database accessible to the public.”
You can access the GLA’s Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker online here: https://www.london.gov.uk/rogue-landlord-checker