‘Time to rein in rogue landlords’ – over 5,000 sign petition for regulation

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.

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3 Responses to “‘Time to rein in rogue landlords’ – over 5,000 sign petition for regulation”

  1. Tom Sacold

    We need to return to the pre-Thatcher approach to public sector housing.
    First step would be to start compulsory purchase of all houses left unoccupied for a period of say 6 months and place them under local authority ownership.
    Second, to automatically repurchase all those ‘council houses’ that have been sold under the right to buy schemes down the years when they come up on the market.
    Third, ensure that private sector house building must include one house for local authority purchase for every two private houses built.

  2. anon

    I trust you haven’t had to deal with those wanky deposit protection services? The businesses who have their position and existence mandated by law, and so can behave as they like because service users have no actual choice.

    My last landlord and my current one have not put my deposit in a protection service. Which is great: they broke the law and so I will get back all the deposit. I would have to do some severe damage for them to challenge me.

    But the agent before these two homes used a protection service. The landlord lived abroad, and an agency was letting a flat. That agent was bought out, then that merged with another agent, or some form of corporate BS. When I came to move out my crappy flat was now in the “portfolio” of an agent who’s image was even more pretentious.

    The moving-out inspection was done by a sub-contractor to the agent, and the report was awful even though I had improved the manky place. The report labelled the flat overall as abandoned, even though I was literally with this contractor when the inspection was done. Of three choices, excellent, good and abandoned, so setting people up for a fail. After this racket the agent wanted to keep all the deposit, naturally. That is why they set up this sub-contractor arrangement: the subcontractor always says shit for the inspections it does and is paid for, the agent gets to keep far too much money, the agent uses the same contractor next time. They both know what is coming if there is a dispute over the deposit:

    Off to DPS. They seemed to revel in being able to draw out a case, whilst I was stressing as I had to borrow for the deposit for the house I moved to. The more they drag things out, the more they have money to be gambling on the stock market. Every little helps, as the corporatists insist.

    I went to their bollocks appeal process, and the barriers to use were a fucking joke. If they kept the deposit it required no paperwork from me. But to get a chance for ADR I had to get a solicitor to sign a thing to say I am who I say I am (cost 5UKP), and provide copies of the tenancy contract and a couple of forms of ID. I could also put forward my case, and I described how the place had improved in many ways, and that abandoned was not accurate. Raising many points only meant a few minor things were accepted, as if they picked token things so I couldn’t dispute the whole affair effectively. The flat was actually effectively the same as when I had started renting it, minus normal wear and tear.

    The move-out report had photos taken, but I had photos from the promotional material from when I moved in. Guess which pictures were taken as valid evidence by the ADR? Yes, the agent’s pictures at move-out. What I provided, which literally came from the land-lord’s agent (technically a different one) were now not considered possibly descriptive of the flat. It wasn’t like they were my photos and I lied about when they were taken, they were taken before I moved in, whilst it was empty, by the same landlord’s agent as I was now in dispute with.

    I was fucking livid when I was offered back about a third or quarter of the deposit. I had to take it, because the next thing would be civil court. I have no idea how to approach that, did not have the money and absolutely not the time.

    But then a spammer saved the day. Estate agents can be great when the regulations they hate they do not take seriously. They abuse deposit regulation to profit, overall, but respect for personal privacy? Not treating all humans as economic objects to be cashed in? No chance.

    Luckily the same agent I was fighting to get the deposit back from, whilst I was looking for a new place (and settled on the “criminal” landlord, who didn’t even go upstairs when she gave my deposit back – now that is good service) took some personal data for a house I looked at. Without consent they passed on the data to their cronies, I got spam, and using threats of an ICO report I got all my deposit back.

    The industry is so fucking wank that I like to have landlords that are shit, these days. Shit landlords also leave tenants alone. Even if a tenant has a fancy agent, one that is “legal”, repairs will be cheaply done and done grudgingly.

  3. Greg

    I agree with Anon, I much rather deal with private landlord directly – rogue or not, than to rent via estate agent ever again. If I have to chose i will ban estate agents before rogue landlord.

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