This last weekend did not only see the publication of the section 21 consultation . At the same time the government published a consultation on reform of the rogue landlord database .There is clearly an element here of getting things done before the inevitable government changeover caused by the change in prime minister and the summer recess.
The rogue landlord database allows for local authorities to list people who have had a conviction from a specified list or who have had two or more fixed penalties issued to them in the last 12 months. It also lists landlords who have been banned. It has been somewhat controversial as there have been no entries made in the few months since it came into operation. In addition, there is no power for the public to access the database, it is only for use by local authorities.
The consultation proposes allowing access to the database for tenants and potential tenants and looks at the different groups who might potentially require access, why they might want it, and how this might be facilitated with reasonable controls to prevent other persons simply pulling all the data for their own purposes. There is also a consideration as to whether or not landlords and agents should have to tell tenants that they are listed on the database. However, it is hard to see how this requirement would be enforced.
The consultation also asks whether the list of reasons to be placed on the database should be changed. Currently there are a range of offences which someone who has been convicted before a court can be added for. As mentioned above if two or more civil penalties have been issued within 12 months for an offence then this also allows a listing. The consultation asks if people should be listed for a single civil penalty should be included. There is also discussion about listing persons who have not committed any offence. This includes landlords who have been served with an improvement notice as well as landlords who have been ruled not to be fit and proper on a licence application, who have had their licence revoked, or been made subject to a management order for their properties. There are also proposals to list agents who have been removed from redress schemes.
Some of these entry options are ones that are found on the Mayor of London’s rogue database. While widening the scope of the entries is inevitable given the scope of the Mayor’s database this change sets up an unhelpful element of competition between the two systems. London local authorities are actively using the Mayoral database while there are appear to be no entries on the official database. Having these two competing systems is hardly useful and effectively creates a “London privilege” in relation to enforcement activity.