The national blacklist of rogue letting agents should be opened up to the industry, says ARLA Propertymark. It’s important that agents have access to this information to avoid hiring crooked staff.
The database contains names of rogue letting agents and landlords. It can currently only be accessed by local and central government.
ARLA has highlighted that a local council will know that an agent on the blacklist is banned from the industry, but potential employers will not.
A consultation was launched over the summer by the Government discussing the possibility of opening the database to tenants and prospective tenants. This would be useful to all looking to research an agent or landlord before committing.
In ARLA’s official report it states that the Government should go even further and allow access to membership organisations and letting agents. It wants the individual agents to be ‘named and shamed’ rather than the firms.
The organisation stated in its response: “ARLA Propertymark believes that letting agents would greatly benefit from access to the database.
“This is because they will be able to properly vet potential employees before making any recruitment decision.
“Currently as the database stands letting agents are concerned that because only the local authority can view entrants, they may be at risk of hiring a banned letting agent.
“For this reason, we also think that it is vital that the database focuses on individuals rather than the agency that employs them.
“This is because, if an estate agency business receives a database entry rather than the individual working within it, there is nothing stopping the rogue letting agent from setting up another company or working in lettings elsewhere.
“Placing the focus on the individual agent would limit this.
“By making the database open and transparent, access to the details of banned letting agents would be a greater added protection to employers than just receiving employment references.”