London launches online rogue landlord checker
Mayor calls on the Government to follow with national database of landlords and agents who have committed housing offences
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has launched an online database of ‘rogue’ landlords to protect people privately renting homes in the city.
Named the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker, it sits on the GLA’s website and names landlords and letting agents who have been successfully prosecuted or faced civil enforcement action for housing offences.
The database has been populated with records from 10 London boroughs, relevant to more than 600,000 renters, before its launch. This accounts for about 25% of the total in the city.
Eight more boroughs have agreed to submit records in the coming weeks and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he hopes the others will soon provide their data. He has no power to make this mandatory.
The checker has three elements. One is the public database of landlords and agents who have been prosecuted or find by London boroughs or the London Fire Brigade, or expelled from letting agent redress schemes.
Another is a private online database for local authorities and the fire service to share more detailed information on offences; and the third is a tool for tenants and other Londoners to report rogue activity.
The public database will retain records for 12 months in most cases, in line with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Members of the public will be able to see details including the full names and addresses of landlords and agents, what type of enforcement action was taken, which organisation undertook it, the address of the relevant property, and the street name and first four postcode digits of the landlord’s home address. The last feature has been made available to help renters distinguish between landlords with the same name.
On the private database, records will be retained for up to 10 years to enable enforcement authorities to build up a full picture of a landlord or letting agent’s past conduct.
Khan commented: “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.”
He also said the Government should “stop dragging their feet” on the creation of a promised compulsory national database.
“Before ministers have even laid the regulations for their database, we’ve planned, built and launched ours – and unlike the Government’s plans, we have made our database accessible to the public,” he said.
Shadow Housing Minister John recently flagged up the Government’s failure to deliver the database. Housing Minister Alok Shama responded that it should “come into effect shortly”.
Image from Greater London Authority