Property licensing schemes and should be rolled out across all of England, creating a de-facto national registration scheme for the nation’s landlords and their properties similar to the schemes already in operation elsewhere in the UK, it has been claimed.
The non-partisan Centre for Public Data (CFPD) says councils that require landlords to be licensed take more than twice as much enforcement action as those that don’t, identity more than twice as many unsafe homes being rented out and solve a higher proportion of these cases.
Commenting on the report, lobbying group Generation Rent reckons another benefit of a national register could be increased tax revenues, since HMRC has no way to track down landlords who don’t declare rental income.
In the Queen’s Speech, the government promised to consider the merits of a national landlord register and a White Paper is expected this autumn.
CFPD’s recommendations include that the register be made easily searchable for tenants, that its data is published, and that it be integrated with other property databases for EPCs, deposit protection and holiday accommodation.
Anna Powell-Smith (pictured), Director of the CFPD, says: “In England, you have to register to run a takeaway or work as an art therapist, but anyone can be a landlord – remarkable given how dangerous it is to live in a property with faulty wiring, boilers or mould.
“A patchwork of schemes will never give renters the protection they need and are an inefficient use of council resources. A national register will be cheaper to run and more effective in raising standards.”
Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, adds: “Nationwide landlord registration would give enforcement authorities valuable intelligence about this sector, make it easier to inform tenants of their rights, and prevent criminals from renting out homes in the first place.”
Read more about the proposed national landlord database.