Plans to make the Government’s rogue landlord database public would be pointless unless local authorities make use of the existing powers already available to them, the RLA has warned.
The database-which is different to the Mayor of London’s rogue landlord database- which launched in December 2017 allows for local authorities to list people who have had a conviction from a specified list, or who have had two or more fixed penalties issued to them in the last 12 months.
In the RLA’s response to the consultation on reforming the database, which you can read here, the RLA has pointed out that the majority of good, law abiding landlords would have nothing to fear from the database being made readily available to the public.
However, the RLA has questioned the value of doing so, given that research shows that not all local authorities are currently making the most of the powers already available to them, such as civil penalties and banning orders, in order to populate the database in the first place.
RLA research on enforcement.
Research published last year by RLA PEARL revealed that nearly 1 in 5 local authorities had not served an improvement notice at all during the previous year, and 67% of local authorities had not prosecuted a single landlord.
The RLA is calling for the Government to urge local authorities to use their existing powers against the few criminal landlords in order to populate the database first.
The Government’s consultation also collected views on:
- What details should be visible, how long they should be held and whether landlords should be required to disclose their inclusion on the database
- A list of offences to be included in the database
- The justification for including minor offences, improvement notices and failure of the fit and proper person test
- The inclusion of landlords who had their licences revoked by local authorities and agents expelled from redress schemes
- The case for including landlords and agents subject to management orders
- The grounds for local authorities to retain access to information on the database that tenants can no longer view
In the consultation response, the RLA has also raised concerns around a proposal to display enough of a landlord’s contact information so that they can easily be identified and even LOCATED through the use of the database.
This is something the RLA believes would mean the database is expanded unnecessarily, because under GDPR regulations everyone is under a duty to minimise as far as possible the data that is being processed and provide a lawful basis for holding the information.
The database should only provide the landlord’s name, and the specific offence that they have committed.
You can read the RLA’s full response to this consultation online here. The consultation is now closed, and the Government is currently analyzing the feedback that has been provided.