New rogue landlords database won't 'root out the crooks'
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has slammed plans to name and shame criminal landlords on a new database in London.
Mayor Sadiq Khan's scheme to list landlords and letting agents who have been prosecuted for housing offences will 'do little to root out the crooks', claims the leading landlords' group.
RLA Policy Director, David Smith, said: “Criminal landlords have no place in the private rented market, but another database is not the answer.
“Such lists do nothing to help find criminal landlords in the first place. After all, they are hardly likely to come forward to register to go on it.
“Rather than duplicating what the Government is already doing, the money to be spent on this scheme would be better used protecting tenants and good landlords by actively finding the crooks who intentionally break the law.”
The RLA cites research which claims that in 2015/16 just 411 landlords were prosecuted by councils in the capital - of which 70 per cent were in the borough of Newham, which has provided more funding than any other council for proper enforcement action.
The RLA argues that instead of duplicating a database, which the Government is already setting up under the 2016 Housing and Planning Act, the Mayor should aim to 'secure the long-term funding councils desperately need to find and root out the criminal landlords.'
The survey of local authority enforcement in the private rented sector, by Caroline Pidgeon, also found a quarter of councils in London (eight boroughs) failed to prosecute a single landlord for providing unsafe accommodation in 2015/16. And a further half of councils (16 boroughs) prosecuted fewer than 10 landlords.
Over 4,000 Category 1 hazards (those representing the most serious risks to tenants) were identified in London’s private rented sector properties in that year alone.
On average, London boroughs inspected one in every 54 homes in the private rented sector using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
But the survey found there was significant variation in the level of enforcement activity by London boroughs, with some councils inspecting one in every 10 private rented properties for hazards, and others only inspecting around one in every 600 properties, the survey found.