Regulation and Enforcement

Government rules out national register of landlords

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The Government has confirmed it has no plans to introduce a mandatory register of private landlords, branding plans ‘an unnecessary and costly additional layer of bureaucracy’.

Minister for the PRS, Heather Wheeler MP, made the comments in response to a written question by Paul Blomfield MP (Labour, Sheffield Central) asking what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits such a scheme

She said: “The Government does not support a mandatory register of private landlords.

“The majority of landlords provide decent and well managed accommodation and requiring those landlords to sign up to a national register would introduce an unnecessary and costly additional layer of bureaucracy.

“Mandatory licensing is already in place for higher risk rental properties, larger houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

“We consulted extensively on changes to the scope of mandatory licensing.

“There was broad support for extending this to include all HMOs with five or more occupiers.

“We published our response to our HMO reforms consultation in December 2017, and laid The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 in February.

“Where there are problems with smaller HMOs in a particular area, local housing authorities have the discretionary power to introduce additional HMO licensing.

“Local housing authorities are also able to introduce selective licensing of landlords in targeted areas to tackle specific problems, as long as the statutory requirements are met. We have committed to a review of selective licensing and will announce further details on the review after Easter recess.”

The RLA’s opposition to a national landlord register was quoted in a Commons debate on the issue last month.

MPs debated Labour MP Phil Wilson’s proposal for a register to help to tackle the issue of landlords who neglect their properties.

As an alternative to selective licensing, the RLA supports a system of self-regulation for landlords, whereby compliant landlords join a co-regulation scheme which deals with standards and complaints in the first instance, while those outside the scheme remain under the scope of local authority enforcement.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • I feel that I provide a good service and quality accommodation for my tenants and I view the introduction of HMO and selective licensing – especially in terms of the benefits that they bring to me versus the the cost in time and expense to be an extremely negative move. In fact I suspect that it is merely an exercise in raising cash for the council and I end up paying for the government cutbacks plus the costs associated with the management of bad landlords.
    It strikes me that it would be more equitable if the offending landlords were monitored properly and prosecuted and fined so that the costs of their offences were financed by the guilty rather than the hard pressed innocents.

  • I don’t welcome this.
    Reason being that I would much rather have a national landlord register (with low fee structure)
    – than selective licencing.

    And a national landlord register would punch a huge hole in any LA’s rationale for pushing for selective licensing.

    • I absolutely second your comment. Landlords must be subject to regulation – housing provision is too large a responsibility, but selective licensing and increasingly draconian and unreasonable legislation, particularly in England, is not the answer either.

      There should be one clear set of guidelines for all landlords in the country, fairly regulated by a national body, to ensure landlords are aware of housing legislation or they use an agent who is, such as the Rent Smart system in Wales, and once landlords achieve the certificate, they are left alone to get on with their business unless a tenant raises an issue the landlord is failing to address.

  • I do not like local councils being responsible for licensing – it will be used just as a cash raising exercise. It would be far better to have a national register of all landlords and all tenants. This could be achieved at very low cost. I would in fact go further and include letting agents etc on the register.

  • It is good that the Government will not extend the Red Tape in this particular instance. There is too much already and all one hears about these days is “enforcement and penalties” for landlords. This is not the way for the authorities to cultivate a good landlord/government relationship. Housing is primarily the responsibility of Local Authorities who are desperate to divest themselves of as much housing responsibilities as possible onto the PRS. They don’t seem to understand that the PRS is only there to take up the slack and not be the primary housing provider.

    Why should we invest more in this sector when landlords are pilloried right left and centre by by grossly adverse legislation and treatment when the rewards are now almost non-existant in every way. And now in addition we have to deal with the prospect of a left-wing Labour government with Draconian ideas concerning the PRS. I ask you, is it all worth it?

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