Going live in the autumn, a new database of rogue landlords is to be coordinated across six London boroughs: Newham, Brent, Camden, Southwark, Kingston and Sutton.
The database will enable prospective tenants to check whether landlords and letting agents have been previously prosecuted for housing offences. It is modelled on a similar scheme in New York, which also allows tenants to report suspected rogue landlords and agents if the standard of their accommodation falls below legal requirements.
Borough councils have also been given extra powers to prosecute dishonest landlords and agents. In 2013 Newham’s prosecutions led to 28 landlords being banned.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the database: “I refuse to stand by as thousands of Londoners suffer sky-high rents and horrendous living conditions in a city they call home.”
Seb Klier of pressure group Generation Rent said: “This initiative will empower renters and it will put the capital’s worst offenders on red alert, letting them know that if they mistreat their tenants, they will be exposed.” Meanwhile the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) claims that the database will do little to deter criminal landlords. RLA Policy Director David Smith said: “Another database is not the answer. Rather than duplicating what the government is already doing, the money spent on this scheme would be better used protecting tenants and good landlords by actively finding the crooks who intentionally break the law.”
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