Would a database for rogue tenants work?
A register of rogue tenants has been mooted this week following the Government's announcement that private landlords must join a redress scheme.
A panel of lettings industry experts have given their views on the Letting Agent Today website.
Lisa Simon, head of residential at Carter Jonas said introduction of just such a database "could bring a wealth of benefits for landlords, tenants and agents alike".
"There are a number of tenants out there – particularly in London – who sublet properties repeatedly," she said.
"In many cases, such tenants not only sublet, but often fail to pay their rent and fall into arrears, which can prove costly for landlords.”
She said that local councils would be best placed to run a rogue tenant database, but would need access to associated court rulings in order to operate this effectively.
Isobel Thomson, chief executive officer of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), was not in favour of "blacklisting tenants" on a database.
"Rather than a bad tenant database, we'd like to see more widespread use of rental payment history schemes and the use of external referencing companies," she said.
Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp UK wondered if there was a need for a database for bad tenants.
"Currently, bad tenants are likely to have a poor credit record if there is a Section 8 eviction and money judgment against them, making it easy to identify bad tenants on that score," he said.
"If a rogue database was to go ahead, it would also need to include all evictions undertaken through Section 8, including anti-social behaviour or property damage, otherwise it would just be a repeat of the money judgements already available through a credit check.
"Creating a rogue tenant database could potentially make landlords and agents look like bullies, but it depends on how it is structured and the benefit to tenants," he warned.
Ian Wilson, chief executive officer of The Property Franchise Group said it is not financially rewarding for agents and their landlord clients to pursue tenants who have defaulted or caused damage to the extent of obtaining a court order against them.
"It takes time, involves cost, has uncertain outcomes and the courts impose derisory payment plans which are themselves often unenforceable in reality," he said.
"Therefore, lots of badly-behaved tenants do not have a CCJ against their name, and unless you trace their every previous rental address and get an honest reference you won’t discover their misdemeanours.
"Alexandra Morris, managing director of MakeUrMove said: "If the database was properly managed, it would provide a more balanced view on what is actually going on in the PRS.
"It would also be beneficial for it to include more detailed information on how local authorities deal with non-paying tenants, which in return would highlight the actual costs incurred by private landlords.
"The Government would then be forced to consider how best to deal with these evidenced issues in the private rental sector."