The growth of the private rented sector in the last 20 years has seen a huge rise in amateur landlords across Britain. Currently 72% of landlords rent out just one property and 88% rent out less than three; furthermore, the huge majority are not part of professional industry bodies or accreditation schemes. Due to the lack of regulation in the sector, though, these figures remain estimates – the government does not actually know how many landlords are currently operating in the country.
This causes problems both in encouraging better standards across the industry and writing national policy. It also means that there is a huge variation in the experience that renters have in the PRS, with no agreed standards or code of conduct that must be met in order to be a landlord. Citizens Advice estimate that 740,000 private rented homes are unsafe, but only 2006 landlords have been convicted of an offence.
Generation Rent is campaigning for the introduction of a national landlord register. This would mean that landlords would have to meet certain standards in order to rent out their homes and could be struck off if not. Such a register would mean that renters could be assured that their landlord was not exploiting their position and that their complaints would be taken seriously if their landlord was acting unscrupulously. A national register could be linked to local authority licensing schemes to meet specific conditions locally. It would also allow government to communicate much more effectively with the industry and use its powers to focus on the bad, ‘rogue’ landlords that would operate ‘off-register’.
We have produced a briefing on how a national register could be implemented cheaply, effectively and without legislation. In June 2019, the government's own review of landlord regulation recommended a national register of landlords.
Sign our petition today asking that all political parties commit to the introduction of a mandatory national register of landlords in the private rented sector.
We, the undersigned, call on the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to help local authorities identify and prosecute criminal landlords, protect tenants from exploitation and improve the reputation of professional and law-abiding landlords by introducing a national register of landlords.