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A new database of rogue owners of buy to let investments is facing criticism after it was heard that the site will not be made public.
This week the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is set to introduce a database of landlords who are ‘serious and prolific offenders.’ The landlords listed on the site will have been found guilty of breaking the law on letting. The site is part of the government’s bid to improve the private-rented sector.
However, chief executive of Arla Propertymark, David Cox, is concerned about the decision to not make the site public. He said: ‘When this legislation was first announced, we were wildly supportive – anything which will help eradicate bad letting agents and landlords has our full support. However, the outcome is disappointing.
‘The database won’t be public, which means no one will be able to see it and therefore letting agents and landlords who are on the list can continue operating with impunity. This appears to be a pointless exercise; if the list were made public – like the equivalent for estate agents – rogue agents and landlords would leave the market for good.’
Under new laws coming into effect on Friday 6 April, buy to let investors with certain criminal convictions including stalking, harassment, blackmail, theft, burglary and handling stolen goods will no longer be allowed to rent out properties. Landlords will be required to obtain a licence if they want to rent out a property in England to five or more people from two or more separate households.
Since 2017, landlords have been liable for fines of up to £30,000 if they are found to be letting out accommodation that is unsafe or substandard. As part of the licensing regime, the government is also introducing minimum space requirements. These mean that bedrooms for one adult will have to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres. Those slept in by two adults will have to be no smaller than 10.22 square metres.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been asked to comment.