The Housing and Planning Bill is returning to the House of Commons today to be debated by politicians, following a Government consultation titled Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector.
The bill proposes introducing a blacklist of persistent rogue landlords and letting agents. In response to the plans, Paul Shamplina, the Founder of evictions firm Landlord Action, is calling for a similar list of persistent rogue tenants and for this to be made public.
Evictions Specialist Calls for Rogue Tenant Blacklist
Some of the key points in the consultation were: Introducing banning orders and civil penalties of up to £5,000 for rogue landlords; speeding up the repossessions process for abandoned properties; and compiling a rogue landlord and agent blacklist.
At present, it is proposed that the blacklist of landlords and agents would be made available to local authorities and central Government, allowing officials to keep track of those that have committed offences.
Shamplina, who was part of the consultation, is urging the Government to show greater equality within the private rental sector.
He argues that if there is a blacklist of rogue landlords and agents, this should also include agents that have multiple money judgements against them by landlords for non-payment of rent. He also believes that all private rental sector associations and redress schemes should put their banned members on the list. In addition, he thinks the list should include rogue tenants and that all of the information should be made available to the public.
He explains his opinion: “We are constantly hearing about rogue landlords and agents. But to address issues in the private rental sector, we should also consider rogue tenants.
“Last year, there were 161,000 possession claims issued in England and Wales. At present, there is no central database where possession orders with money claims are registered, as the courts do not recognise possession claims with arrears as a County Court Judgement. If they did, this information would show up on tenant referencing.
“At present, a rogue tenant can move from property to property running up rent arrears and it does not show up on referencing unless the landlord goes to additional expense of trying to enforce the money order. If we are to protect landlords at pre-let stage, in the same way we wish to protect tenants, this should also be made available.”
Shamplina continues: “The Government is clearly committed to improving standards in the PRS. One of the greatest challenges is finding a balance between supporting good landlords and agents, whilst cracking down on criminal activity without burdening the sector with unnecessary, expensive regulation.
“I believe that one of the best ways to do this is by giving the consumer – landlords and tenants – access to information; allowing them to have freedom of choice about who they rent from.”
Of those that responded to the Government consultation, 92% agreed that there should be a blacklist of persistent rogue landlords and agents. Shamplina believes that making this information available to the wider public will support reputable landlords and letting agents, and act as a deterrent.