The London Mayor has announced that a new on-line database will be created naming and shaming landlords and lettings agents who have been successfully prosecuted for housing offences. The on-line database is expected to go live this autumn.
The Mayor is hoping that tenants wishing to rent in London will access the database to check a prospective landlord or letting agent prior to committing to any tenancy. He is also hoping that the very existence of the database will discourage landlords and lettings agents from acting dishonestly.
The database will be developed with information from 6 local councils – Newham, Brent, Camden, Southwark, Kingston and Sutton. Additional councils are also expected to take part in time. The London Mayor’s website states that the database will then be used by councils across London to share information “on landlords’ criminal history and provide details of enforcement activity and investigations”. However, information for the database may also be collated from Londoners themselves. It is understood that Londoners will be able to report suspected “criminal” landlords and lettings agents through the London Mayor’s website.
The Housing and Planning Act also has provision for a ‘database of rogue landlords and property agents’ which will be updated by local councils. So, it is not clear why a further database is needed for Londoners? Furthermore, the opportunity to report suspected “criminal” landlords and lettings agents through the London Mayor’s website is at risk of abuse and is likely to be misused by an aggrieved tenant.