Mayor launches rogue landlord and agent checker for London

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 - Mayor of London

A new online rogue landlord and agent tracker has been launched by the Mayor of London as part of his manifesto commitment to protect people privately renting homes in the capital.

The new online database – the first of its type in the country – is intended to ‘name and shame’ landlords and lettings agents who have been successfully prosecuted or have faced civil enforcement action for various housing offences.

Members of the public will be able to see:

  • the landlord and agent’s full name;
  • what type of enforcement action was taken against them, for what offence, and what fine they received;
  • who undertook the enforcement action (i.e. London borough, London Fire Brigade, redress scheme);
  • the address of the rental property where the offence took place; and
  • the street name and first four post code digits of the landlord’s home address (to help renters distinguish between landlords with the same name).

In most cases, enforcement action will remain on the public database for 12 months, due to restrictions in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. A private database only accessible to the enforcement agencies will retain the information for up to 10 years.

The Mayor believes the database, published on the City Hall website, will give Londoners greater confidence in renting a home by allowing them to check a prospective landlord or letting agent, as well as acting as a clear deterrent to the minority of landlords and letting agents who behave dishonestly.

Ahead of its launch, records from 10 London boroughs (Brent, Camden, Greenwich, Islington, Kingston, Newham, Southwark, Sutton, Waltham Forest, Westminster) and the London Fire Brigade have been published on the database.

A further eight boroughs (Barking and Dagenham, Croydon, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Lewisham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets) have agreed to submit records soon. Whilst the Mayor has no power to require all boroughs to submit their data, he is encouraging them all to sign up.

The system also provides tenants with an online tool for the easy reporting of landlords they suspect of unscrupulous practices, together with advice on contacting one of the government approved redress schemes that all letting agents must join.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

The housing market in London is difficult enough for Londoners to navigate, without those landlords and letting agents who behave unscrupulously leaving tenants living in appalling conditions, despite often paying sky-high rents. I promised to do everything within my powers to help Londoners facing this problem – I will not stand by while they are exploited.

“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”.

The Mayor’s database will empower renters to check a specific landlord’s record, as well as look at landlords and agents in their area who have faced enforcement action. Londoners can also use the checker to report unscrupulous practises – a crucial step in simplifying the process of a tenant reporting their landlord to their local authority as the first stage in bringing about enforcement action.

London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Dan Daly, said:

From overcrowded housing to poor escape routes and badly maintained fire doors, our fire inspectors regularly find homes that are just too dangerous to live in.

Making it easier for tenants to find out if a potential landlord has flouted fire safety rules will act as a deterrent for the small number of dishonest landlords who pose a large risk to their tenants.

Carrie Kus, Director of the Residential Landlords Association, said:

We all want to see criminal landlords rooted out of the rental market altogether. Any measure such as this which helps tenants to distinguish between the majority of law-abiding and decent landlords and those landlords who bring the sector into disrepute is to be welcomed.

Given the financial and reputational risks of have not having the correct licence, more and more landlords and agents are visiting the London Property Licensing website to check on licensing requirements for their properties. You can click the ‘Select Borough’ link above to check the licensing requirements in every London Borough.

The Mayor’s Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker is available here.

The new online tool to report a rogue landlord or agent to any London Borough is available here.

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