London boroughs unite to root out rogue landlords
All 32 London boroughs have signed up to mayor Sadiq Khan's scheme to eliminate rogue landlords through a 'naming and shaming' system.
The Rogue Landlord Checker was set up by Mr Khan to allow councils to register the details of landlords who have been prosecuted for failing in their duties. It means that prospective renters can check to see if their landlord has any past history of misdemeanours and then make an informed choice over whether to rent from them.
With all councils supporting the plan, it means there is effectively no future in London for the rogues, as the idea of moving from one borough where they have a bad name to another where their past activities are not known about will cease to be an option.
Declaring that such unscrupulous operators now have "nowhere to hide", Mr Khan remarked: "I'm confident this will be a major step in tackling unscrupulous and illegal practices in the rented sector."
The register has been welcomed by landlord bodies such as the Residential Landlords' Association. Its director Carrie Cus said: "This will give tenants the support they need to properly distinguish between the majority of law-abiding and decent landlords and those landlords who bring the sector into disrepute.”
Displayed on the City Hall website, the Rogue Landlord Checker already displays the names of numerous landlords and agents who have been punished for past failings.
For example, there is the case of Jonathan Bucknell, who failed to carry out work demanded in an improvement notice issued by Camden Council. He was convicted in March and fined £40,000.
Another was that of Nitin Patel, who was fined an equally large amount by Brent Council for failing to gain the appropriate licence to rent out a property in Wembley.
These and other rogues may now face being forced out of the market as renters avoid them, perhaps forcing them to sell up to more honest landlords and agencies.
Mr Khan announced the news as he prepares to publish his wider housing strategy for the capital, which will include the role the private rental sector will play in providing homes across the capital.