Anna Bibby, 10 July 2019
In a bid to tackle poor-quality housing and rogue landlords in the private rented sector, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has called for a new mandatory registration scheme for landlords.
In its latest move to improve the standards of the PRS, the CIEH has written to a variety of politicians, including the leadership contenders for both the Conservative party and Liberal Democrats and urged them to consider a registration scheme for landlords in England. It believes that such a registration scheme is necessary as rogue landlords can currently operate under the radar of local councils and provide poor quality accommodation to the detriment of their tenants. Similar schemes are currently in operation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and have proved to be successful in deterring rogue landlords.
The CIEH has told MPs that poor-quality housing is responsible for illnesses, injuries and, in extreme cases, death amongst tenants across England, and more needs to be done to protect tenants from such conditions. Their concerns aren’t completely unfounded either – in a recent survey carried out by the blinds and curtain company Hillary’s, it was reported that one in five tenants had fallen ill as a result of their poor-quality accommodation and it was reported by National Energy Action (NEA) that a shocking 17,000 people died in the winter of 2018 due to insufficient heating in their property.
The campaign is being backed up by recommendations in the Government-commissioned review into selective-licensing which also highlighted the benefits of a registration for landlords. The proposed key features of the scheme will include a mandatory fee that landlords will need to pay in order to register, a fine or penalty for landlords who fail to comply and the facilities for local authorities to communicate directly with landlords to keep them up-to-date on legislation and advise them on good practice when it comes to property management. There will also be a link to the Rogue Landlord Database to ensure that landlords who have been convicted of serious offences cannot move to another region and continue to operate undetected. It will also allow tenants to look up their landlord before renting a property.
Commenting on the CIEH plans, housing policy spokesperson Tamara Sandoul said: “This new national landlord register is absolutely necessary if we are going to properly get a grip on poor housing conditions in the private rented sector. CIEH has been analysing the schemes already operating in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and believe the time is right for England to follow suit. Not only would a register give local authorities a much stronger picture of housing in their areas, but it will leave rogue landlords with nowhere to hide, all while empowering renters to make informed choices about their housing options.”
Landlords that are providing sub-standard housing can pose as a serious threat to their tenants and a register like the one that the CIEH are proposing will certainly be a step in the right direction to stop these rogue landlords from operating.
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Anna Bibby, 10 July 2019