The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has identified criminal landlords, who cause problems for renters, as an area ministers must take action on.
A new Housing Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech today and the RLA would like to see a crackdown on the minority of landlords who practise illegally.
Currently, when a new occupant moves into a property, they must complete a Council Tax registration form. These forms do not request the tenure of the property, where it is rented, who the landlord is, or what the contract entails.
RLA Wants Crackdown on Criminal Landlords
The RLA is calling for the Government to include measures in the Housing Bill that allow councils to include the home’s tenure and landlord’s details on Council Tax registration forms. Tenants must be given this information when they sign a tenancy agreement.
The RLA’s proposal would make it harder for criminal landlords to not be identified.
If a tenant cannot identify their landlord, a Council Tax form without these details would give local authorities and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) the information to target these properties and the landlords acting illegally.
Chairman of the RLA, Alan Ward, says: “Faced with staff and resource shortages, too many local authorities resort to over-regulating the good landlords who are easy to find.
“It’s time that we got smarter and ought to have a system which supports the good landlords while bringing the book down on the criminals who should play no part in a modern housing market.
“The RLA’s pragmatic solution would provide the intelligence enforcing authorities currently lack and would send a clear message to those that prey on vulnerable tenants – there’s nowhere for you to hide.”
The RLA would also like the Bill to allow the legally required information on deposit protection to be provided electronically to tenants, if they wish.
Ward continues: “In the 21st century, it’s ludicrous that tenants can’t be told by email about where their deposit is being held.
“In shared homes especially, the mountain of paperwork that tenants are required to have can amount to a small forest’s worth of trees. This should be rectified with laws fit for the realities of today’s tenants.”1