As the home of deposit protection, we believe we've an important role to play in making sure the government hears and understands your views on changes to the private rented sector (PRS). So, when the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) opened a consultation on the issue of tackling rogue landlords, we got on the case, seeking your feedback through a survey and some in-depth discussions, before collating your responses and submitting them to the consultation.
We thought you’d like to know what your collective position is on the topics we asked you about, so here’s a summary of what you told us.
We found out that you're overwhelmingly of the opinion that rogue landlords and letting agents tarnish the reputation of the good operators in the PRS, and are generally supportive of stronger penalties to encourage better standards in the sector.
You’re open to the idea of a centralised national register of landlords and letting agents rather than individual registration or licensing with local authorities. You also believe that a national register would be the best way of both administrating fit and proper person tests and keeping a blacklist of rogue landlords and letting agents.
Let's take a look at some of the numbers:
- Over 90% of you believe that rogue landlords and letting agents give the PRS a bad name and that something more needs to be done.
- More than two thirds of you think that fines at their current level aren’t enough to deter rogue landlords and letting agents.
- Almost three quarters of you think that a national, centralised register of landlords and letting agents would be better than multiple registers or licensing schemes maintained individually by local authorities.
- 59% of you believe a national, centralised registering body would be better suited to operate a fit and proper person test than local authorities, and 80% of you felt that it would be better at keeping a blacklist of offenders.
- Almost three quarters of you feel that blacklisted landlords or letting agents shouldn’t be able to accept deposits from tenants.
- Over half of you also felt that records of civil penalties and previous Rent Repayment Orders should be available for prospective tenants to view.
Weeding out rogue landlords and letting agents is something you clearly want, and you’re heartened that the Government is listening to your views. Whilst you’re willing to work with them to achieve this, you want to see better enforcement of the rules, rather than regulation for regulation’s sake. The general view is that good letting agents and landlords are already adhering to the existing rules and regulations and that more must be done by government, local or central, to police these. For example, Trading Standards enforcing the requirement for all fees to be published in letting agents’ windows.
Thank you for sharing your views with us. It’s allowed us to use our position as a key industry body to ensure your combined voice is heard by the DCLG. We’re looking forward to the results of the consultation soon, and sharing our take on the Government’s response with you.