The government is to spend up to £100,000 investigating how best to set up a national register in England for the country’s estimated 2.3 million private landlords.
Details of the work have been revealed in a tender document published on an official ‘supplier opportunities’ website.
The document says the Government wants to understand the ‘different models available for pursuing solutions to our identified problems and to further understand the difficulties individuals face when renting, letting or enforcing property standards in the Private Rented Sector’.
The ‘problems’ referred to are that central and local government authorities have limited and un-joined up records on landlords in England.
Sources include HMRC tax records, local authority licensing schemes and national mandatory deposit registration scheme data.
Private tenants, on the other hand, have only limited ways to check information about their landlord or property before signing a tenancy.
The exploratory work required by the tender includes looking at the Welsh and Scottish landlord registration scheme.
Wales’ RentSmart programme is heavy on regulation, enforcement and expense (£200+ a year), while Scotland’s lighter and more straightforward scheme charges fees of £67 for each landlord and £15 per property.
The consultancy ‘discovery’ work tender closes later this week and is due to start at the end of August and last up to ten weeks.
In May the Queen’s Speech included reference to the government’s plans for major reform of the PRS including a national register and compulsory redress scheme membership for landlords.
Sean Hooker (pictured), Head of Redress at the PRS, say he hopes the consultation will recommend that all the existing sources of information are ‘joined up’ to create the register, rather than it relying solely on landlords to upload their details.