A national rogue tenant register to combat the issue of renters trashing properties and leaving landlords out of pocket could be open to abuse, a leading expert has warned.

Sean Hooker, head of redress at the Property Redress Scheme, says there would be issues over how any potential register could be regulated and controlled, while the information on it would need to be verified.

“It shouldn’t be a blacklist of tenants that could be prejudiced against them – they would need to be on there for a legitimate reason and not because a landlord didn’t like them asking for repairs,” he tells LandlordZONE.

Many landlords responded to LandlordZONE’s story about Vic and Jane Shoulders who face a huge bill after a rogue tenant family left behind a trail of destruction, 18 months after moving in, in the Toothill suburb of Swindon.

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Serious offendors

One said that such a national register would be useful, adding: “I could start it off with at least 20 names of serious offenders who have abused my property and owed thousands in rent arrears. Black-listing these offenders would soon prevent other landlords from taking these thieves on in future.”

Another added that it might make tenants think there were serious consequences to abusing landlords and their properties, with the consequence that they would find it very difficult to find accommodation in a decent landlord’s property again.

There are plenty of landlord review websites such as marksoutoftenancy.com and rateyourlandlord.org.uk where tenants can be brutally honest about property owners.

hooker

Hooker says the issue of people posting unsubstantiated ratings on these would apply to any tenant equivalent and adds that landlords can protect themselves in other ways.

“It’s amazing how many landlords don’t do robust referencing and don’t go through rigorous due diligence. Doing that right – not only checking credit history but with previous landlords and employers – is how you protect yourself.”

Read more: How do we get rid of rogue tenants?

6 COMMENTS

  1. whilst there would be genuine comments made from landlords, there would also be many exaggerated or completely untrue ones, we’ve all experienced the mistreatment, lies and false claims landlords have made, especially against the deposit.
    if people want one like the rouge landlord register, well that one is administered by councils and people are only added on there after the council have taken serious action against them.

    • Perhaps rather than being a negative or positive LL and tenant database it can be BOTH.

      So for tenants who HAVE fully complied with their contractual obligations a LL can state such.

      The same for tenants who have NOT complied with their contractual obligations.

      Most feckless tenants immediately stop paying rent if other anti-social activity occurs.

      Therefore any record of rent defaulting should be immediately applied to a tenant record database.

      Rent defaulting is NEVER subjective.

      It either has or hasn’t occurred.

      The reasons for any rent defaulting are irrelevant.

      Tenants would be allowed to apply their version of why they failed to meet their contractual rent payment obligations.

      But rent default is still defaulting.

      Any future LL would be able to make their own judgement as to whether they would wish to take on a proven rent defaulting tenant.

      It should be remembered that annually feckless rent defaulting tenants cause LL losses of about £9 billion.

      These rent defaulted losses should be applied to an individual tenant record.

      The vast majority of LL don’t even bother applying for CCJ against such feckless rent defaulting tenants as they know there is very little opportunity for such a CCJ to be effective in recovering defaulted rent.

      Throwing even more good money after bad is something most LL are disinclined to do.

      Until there is such a detailed register of tenant histories good or bad then feckless tenants will continue to run rings round LL causing them the same £9 billion of losses every year.

      With the increasing impossibility of removing in particular feckless rent defaulting tenants in a reasonable time and at minimal cost then even more LL will move away from the single tenancy business model to SA and FHL etc.

      This will just remove normal rental property from tenant availability.

      This has already been evidenced in Cornwall where apparently there were 65000 AirBnB vacancies but only 57 normal tenancies available.

      Such circumstances will occur elsewhere in the UK.

      The business risk of normal tenancies now is simply not worth it for many LL.

      There will never be a database where it is easy for LL to determine which tenants have rent defaulted.

      Govt will never permit this as it simply can’t have any situation which enables any LL to be able to reject such a tenant based on their rent payment history.

      The £9 billion of losses hitting LL annually would be more than double that if LL could get rid of these feckless rent defaulting tenant types quickly or even never take them on.

      Govt relies on the billions of private LL capital and resources to pay for the feckless tenants.

      If not then it would be Govt resources that would be required to fund the tenant fecklessness.

      LL are gradually and eventually waking up to this reality and are naturally responding in such ways that they will not subsidise tenant fecklessness.

      For the LL it is a simple pragmatic business response that Govt is causing them to make.

      Obviously a disaster for good tenants attempting to source rental accommodation.

      But LL are under NO obligation to house the feckless.

      All these circumstances will just result in an ever decreasing PRS.

      Despite their best efforts to penalise small LL in every way such LL WILL exit the AST PRS for other forms of rental tenure which are far less risky as a business model.

      A lot of LL will just sell up and leave the industry..
      Who could blame them!?

  2. On balance, the benefit of such databases would far outweigh the odd false review and should not be a barrier. Anyway, a false or unsubstantiated claim against a tenant would be subject to libel and redress. There would be plenty of ambulance chasing lawyers quite happy to sue the arse off a landlord with assets. This alone would ensure landlords did not abuse the system. But, given most feckless tenants don’t have a bean, landlords would not have access to the same remedy.

    That tenants can report rogue landlords yet we can’t report rogue tenants is just another example of a system that favours the tenant.

  3. Having recently discovered that a fully-referenced, credit-checked, employed tenant who came via a letting agent is dealing drugs at our premises, rather ruins the notion that ‘due diligence’ removes risk. This tenant had none of the usual warning signs, but was up to the same tricks as numerous others. Where other than a blacklist would one be able to get this information?!

  4. Let us move away from the concept of any blacklist.

    Rather just a simple database recording the status and performance of a tenant.

    LL would be able to see the status of ALL tenant applicants.

    So NO blacklist as such.

    A National tenant database accessible by LL.

    The only thing I think would be required for rent defaulting records is that LL will be required to obtain a CCJ for those rent arrears BEFORE any LL will be permitted to register a rent default on a National tenant database.

    Requiring a CCJ will also give defaulting tenants the opportunity to pay the CCJ before it appears officially and damage their reference potential.

    Once feckless tenants recognise how important it will be not to have any rent defaulting on their records many tenants will not rent default or will pay defaulted rent.

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