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Rogue landlord checker launched in London

London mayor Sadiq Khan is today launching his rogue landlord and agent checker – fulfilling his long-term commitment to name and shame criminal landlords.

The new checker has three parts:

  • a public online database of landlords and letting agents who have been prosecuted or fined by London Boroughs or the London Fire Brigade, issued a prohibition notice or expelled from letting agent redress schemes
  • a private online database for local authorities and the London Fire Brigade to share more detailed information about landlord and letting agent offences
  • a reporting tool to allow tenants to more easily report rogue landlord and agent activity.

It will, for the first time, allow tenants to check their landlord or agent before they sign a rental agreement.

The private database will help councils share information to improve enforcement action against bad landlords and agents who operate in multiple boroughs.

Finally, the reporting tool will provide a quick and easy way for tenants to make a complaint to a London borough.

Launching it today mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Many landlords and agents across London offer a great service – but sadly some don’t.

“My new database is about empowering Londoners to make informed choices about where they rent, and sending rogue operators a clear message: you have nowhere to hide.”

The RLA supports any action to punish those criminal landlords that give the sector a bad name.

Carrie Kus, RLA director, said: “We all want to see criminal landlords rooted out of the rental market altogether.

“Any measure such as this which helps tenants to distinguish between the majority of law-abiding and decent landlords and those landlords who bring the sector into disrepute is to be welcomed.”

Restrictions

On the public database records will be available in most cases for 12 months, due to restrictions imposed by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Members of the public will be able to see:

  • Landlords and agents’ full names
  • What type of enforcement action was taken against them, for what offence, and what fine if any they received
  • Who undertook the enforcement (i.e. London Borough , LFB, redress scheme)
  • The address of the rental property where the offence took place
  • The street name and first four post code digits of the landlord’s home address (to help renters distinguish between landlords with the same name)
  • The date of enforcement

On the private database records will be retained for up to 10 years to allow enforcement authorities to build up a full picture of a landlord or letting agent’s past when conducting investigations.

The same information will be displayed on the private database, as on the public Checker but with the landlord or agent’s full home address

The GLA has built the online database, and is able to issue login details to local authorities, the London Fire Brigade and redress schemes once those organisations have signed a data sharing agreement and/or a memorandum of understanding with the GLA.

Once these documents are signed, enforcement authorities can view and upload data to the checker.

Enforcement authorities remain responsible for the accuracy of the data they upload to the system.

Landlords and agents are notified by the GLA of their proposed inclusion on the database, and given the opportunity to make a representation to have their details removed.

The enforcement authority who submitted the record decides whether representations will be accepted.

The checker was developed by the GLA in cooperation with six London boroughs: Brent, Camden, Kingston, Newham, Southwark and Sutton.

The London Fire Brigade, all three letting agent redress schemes (the Property Redress Scheme, Ombudsman Services – Property and The Property Ombudsman), as well as the London Boroughs of Greenwich, Islington, Waltham Forest and Westminster have all subsequently signed up and uploaded data for the first phase of the Checker

Frequently asked questions from landlords and agents

I am a landlord and I have successfully appealed my conviction. What should I do?

You should let your local authority and the Greater London Authority know as soon as possible.

You can contact the Greater London Authority by emailing representations@london.gov.uk

Once this has been verified, your record will be removed from the checker.

I’m a landlord and I want to make a representation. What supporting evidence should I provide?

If you think the information about you is inaccurate or shouldn’t appear on this Checker, email:

representations@london.gov.uk setting out your case with full supporting evidence.

Requests without full supporting evidence will not be considered. The GLA cannot advise on what supporting evidence to provide; it is up to you to decide what proof is appropriate.

I’ve just received a letter saying my details are going to be added to the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker and it refers to a fine. Do I need to pay this fine to the GLA?

This is not a new fine and you are not required to pay anything to the GLA.

The letter refers to the fine you were given as part of the enforcement you have already undergone. The letter mentions your fine because it will be listed as part of your record on the checker.

How long will my data stay on the checker?

The letter you have received will set out the retention period for your personal record on both the public and private parts of the checker.

The maximum retention period on the private database is ten years from the date of enforcement (e.g. date of sentencing for a criminal conviction).

Once the record expires, it will be permanently deleted from our database. No personal information whatsoever will be retained by the GLA after this point.

How do you make decisions about representations?

Once a representation has been received, we’ll pass your request to the enforcement authority that supplied the information about you.

They will then make an assessment and a notification of their decision will be sent to you. Your record will only be removed if your representation is approved by the enforcement authority.

Your record may only be removed in the following exceptional circumstances:

  • naming by the GLA carries a risk of personal harm to you or your family
  • there are national security risks associated with naming you
  • there are other factors which suggest that it would not be in the public interest to name you

Decisions are made by the enforcement authority that supplied the information about you to the GLA.

My offence was very minor. Why am I being labelled a rogue?

Any enforcement action which has resulted in a criminal prosecution, a civil penalty notice from Trading Standards, a London Fire Brigade prohibition notice or an expulsion from a redress scheme will be included on the public part of the checker.

The Mayor believes these enforcement actions to be serious enough to warrant being displayed to the public.

The purpose of the checker is to give tenants more information about landlords and agents so they are able to make more informed decisions about who to rent from.

If you believe that you have a strong case for your details being withheld from the checker, you should email representations@london.gov.uk setting out your case with full supporting evidence.

Requests without full supporting evidence will not be considered. The GLA cannot advise on what supporting evidence to provide; it is up to you to decide what proof is appropriate.

What information about me will be displayed in my record?

Your record will show your name or the name of your company, your registered address (street name and first three digits of your postcode only), the type of enforcement action that was taken, the offence that was committed, the level of fine if issued, the full address of the rental property, and the date of the enforcement action.

The Mayor’s Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker is available at www.london.gov.uk/rogue-landlord-checker.

The government is launching its own rogue landlord database in April this year and will also begin issuing banning order to criminal landlords. To read more click here.

Written by Sally Walmsley

Blog Post from Residential Landlords Association

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