Over 5000 people have signed a petition calling for landlords to face stricter regulation in order to ensure tenants are renting safe homes.
The petition calls for a national register of all landlords in England to be kept and made available to councils, the government, and prospective tenants.
“A national register is crucial. It would make it easy to check if a landlord is meeting certain standards and stop them renting out their properties if not,” explained Generation Rent, the campaign group who started the petition.
“Once a landlord register was in place, it would be easier for councils to communicate with the good landlords and prosecute the bad ones who aren’t registering at all.”
Tenants’ rights have been centre stage in recent months after the Tenant Fees Act came into force in June. The bill aimed to provide better protection for renters, and save them over £240 million a year.
Despite this, landlords are still violating tenants. One example being the ex-professional footballer turned landlord Dexter Blackstock, who was handed a £25,000 fine for renting out 12 homes without a legal license and without checked smoke alarms.
However, Generation Rent says that Blackstock was a rare case of accountability because Nottingham Council is one of the few councils which has the ability to take action with the landlord licensing scheme.
The scheme has not been adopted nationally, and so many landlords are falling under the radar.
The Government has started a database of “rogue” landlords, but Generation Rent says that only four landlords have been listed on it since it was started last year. Moreover, the database isn’t accessible to tenants.
A national register of landlords would be considerably easier to compile, the campaign group explained.
“The idea is pretty simple: a one stop shop that holds information on all landlords across the country. If you are looking for a new home, you can check whether your landlord is registered there, and if they aren’t – you could steer well clear.
“And the best part? The register for the most part already exists. Landlords are required to protect tenants’ deposits in one of three tenancy deposit schemes – this is a pretty good start for a national register.”
Meka Beresford is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter.
As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.
We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.