A property passport system for rented properties took a step closer this morning after it was announced that the government is to open up its previously secret Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) system.

This will be available to home owners and non-commercial organisations from July 1st and will be used to pull together all the regulatory and other information about a property into one number, creating a passport for every rented home.

The announcement has been made by The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC) whose chair Theresa Wallace says the announcement follows significant lobbying over the past two years to persuade the government to open up its data.

“The next phase of the TLIC vision is to engage with stakeholders in the industry, such as GasSafe, CRM system providers, deposit schemes and electrical safety certificate suppliers to adopt the UPRN as their property reference number on all certification and documentation,” says Wallace.

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“Then, with the development of the Property Passport, the UPRN can be used much like a car number plate, to check safety requirements on privately rented properties have been completed.

“This will give tenants the peace of mind that their property has passed all of its checks and the Local Authorities the transparency they need for improved enforcement.”

The TLIC has told LandlordZONE that the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPC) register is already using the UPRN as their address identifier within their new website and The Property Ombudsman has also started collecting the data on a voluntary basis with a view of integrating this into their complaints process.

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30 COMMENTS

    • I wouldn’t have thought it would cost anything…it is just collating all the information that is already available into a single database….but sure they will find a way to mess it up!

    • Yes, these were my initial thoughts. Although it’s not a bad idea, I feel concerned about the big brother approach. This is the first I’ve heard of it. I’m not sure what’s behind this other than a way of monitoring.

    • I have no problem with this if it is used to:
      1. Make properties safe for tenants, ensuring regulations for safety, electric and gas services are checked as appropriately.
      2. I am happy for it to ensure that landlords are paying their taxes
      3. That it allows for correct enforcement
      4. As long as this does not create an extra cost to landlords without a benefit, such as creating an onus on tenants and a ability to track problem tenants, I.e via NI number.
      5. As with number 4 get rid of deposits and put an onus on tenants to provide Tenant Insurance that covers Landlords for unlimited lost rent and damages from insurance companies. This will ensure correct inventory and regular checks by landlords and their agents. There can be an ombudsman for insurance disputes. Make it a legal requirement for tenants to have continued insurance during their tenancy, this could also cover their contents. If they do not have insurance, then in law this will be a legal reason for eviction.

      Tenants who have no regards for screwing the landlord for rent or wrecking the property will not be able to get insurance cover. This to me would be better than a credit check, as most landlords do not take bad tenants to court because of cost and no chance of getting money back or tenants have disappeared, so I would steer clear of those tenants who cannot get insurance.

      Those who feel that poor tenants should be constantly be given chances, could set up special insurance societies to underwrite insurance polices, so unwary Good landlords do not loose out.

      • That’s a fantastic in sight Max and some extremely good ideas there.. I am all for it as my own personal database means all properties are collated under one name/number and it is only right that everything linked to that property – in terms of tenant safety, insurances etc etc in one place to make it easier all round.

  1. Perhaps each tenant needs a unique number. That can then be cross referenced with credit agencies, rent arrears, disruptive behaviour and damage to properties.

      • So perhaps the concept of a Tenant Referencing Passport would be a good one.
        Each tenant would have a record of all their renting circumstances.
        It would encourage tenants not to default on their rent.
        Not many LL would take on a tenant if their referencing passport indicated unsatisfied rent arrears!!

        It should be a legal requirement that any tenant should be required to have aTRP.

        It would greatly improve rhe chances of tenants with good TRP to achieve a tenancy without any delays.

          • Precisely what I was thinking a year ago

            I spent the last year building a website to do this very same thing this
            not completed yet about a week or two away anybody wants to check it out your welcome to http://renterball.com/

            It’s a feedback website linked to tenants NI numbers

            All fully dataProtection approved

  2. So wait, property already has a unique reference, it’s called “the address”. But LLs have to pay for a new numer for some reason…

    • Every dwelling should already be on the “national gazetteer”. This also has the use of pinpointing a dwelling for emergency services, Royal Mail etc. EPCs link into the system using a UPRN. This has worked well for many years. RentSmart Wales (Wales licencing scheme) logs rented properties, but many landlords have still failed to register.

  3. I guess they want to screw landlords for more money. I fear that landlords will be the cash cow that will help pay the covid bill.

    • if that is the case then the government should ensure that the Landlord receives rent payments of housing benefit directly when registered.

      • @brian
        You are clearky clueless as to the issues surrounding dirct payment.

        Ever heard of ‘clawback’.
        If you have then your suggestion is idiotic.
        Direct payment WITHOUT the risk of ‘clawback’ is an EXCELLENT idea.

        Trouble is the PTB will never allow diect payment without the risk of ‘clawback’.

        Entirely because of the risk if ‘clawback’ no way under any circumstances would I accept direct payment.
        The ONLY time that I would is while going through an eviction process for that tenant.

        ‘Clawback’ is a massive underlying business risk for ANY LL accepting direct payment.

        It is a risk that many LL receiving direct payment do not appreciate.

        Rather than direct payment far better to have a tenant join a Credit Union.
        Tenant then arranges for the FULL contractual rent to be paid to the LL BEFORE any other withdrawals are allowed.

        Essentially once the CU receives the monthly UC it sends the rent payment to the LL BEFORE the tenant can withdraw their UC from the CU.

        This will ensure that the tenant will at least remain housed.

        They may well suffer other financial disadvantages but they are far easier to cope with if accommodation is paid for.
        After all that is what HB is meant for!!
        Allowing feckless tenants to access these funds is just encouraging dysfunctional tenants to end up homeless.

        It is simply setting them up for failure.
        It is simply unfair and unreasonable to expect certain types of tenants to be responsible for their finances.

        These types of feckless tenants will alwsys need to be treated like children.
        They need to be looked after by society.
        Giving them access to their full UC is irresponsible.
        The housing costs should be removed from their UC award so that they cannot get their hands on it.

        Society has a responsibility to manage things when they understand that some people are incapable of managing their chaotic lives.

        The ridiculous Govt ethos laudable though it nay be of expecting everyone to manage their affairs as though in receipt of a monthly wage is simply setting up the dysfunctional to fail.

        Society needs to assist the dysfunctional by preventing them from accessing all their UC BEFORE the FULL CONTRACTUAL RENT HAS BEEN PAID.

  4. Hello Nigel, Thanks for sharing. We have another solution for Landlords, Ours uses an App & unique QR code for that property, that can also add certificates and important documents and has more options to add things like User manuals of appliances, equipment locations and send notifications to the tenant & Landlord when the boiler or electrics are due to be re-tested again. The costs are £1 a year for 6x documents. Take a look at our website http://www.certon.co.uk

  5. Property passport? Sounds like a means for government monitoring the affairs of landlords for the purpose of the taxman. The governments national debt is going up and up and they want to milk the public more and more……

  6. It must be a huge task to coordinate, has it been tried and tested? I’m so what cynical and wonder what the cost will be to landlords.

  7. So I believe this just proves how incompetent the PTB are.
    I would TOTALLY welcome a UPN.
    I presume that Govt would make it a legal requirement that any property letting for residential letting would be required to have a UPN.

    Does Govt not realise how many inadequate properties are let to illegal tenants!?

    If Govt required a UPN there would be mass homelessness.
    It would of course mean that only good LL would be able to achieve a UPN.

    With things like EPC and electrical cert requirements many rental properties will require substantial investment to achieve a UPN.
    For many LL those affected prooerties won’t be viable if they require a substantial level of investment.

    But of course with a UPN requirement it will mean far fewer LEGAL rental properties facilitating large rent increases as supply reduces but unsatisfied demand remains.

    Good LL will welcome regulations which force a level playing field.
    Trouble is that will be to the vast detriment of millions of tenants!!

  8. Iv wondered for a long time why this has not been implemented. I’m amazed that on tax declarations property ownership is not identified. A unique identifier would help everyone.

    • Hi Sandi – the system is yet to get up and running – it just now has the green light to go ahead. Watch this space!

  9. I have no problem with this I now there will be a cost but it needs to be low I no of a lot of so called landlords who do not pay any tax or do any repairs or gas checks I do feel at the Same time there should be a tennant registration system so good landlords get good tenants.

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