Landlords to be registered on central database

Posted by Richard Catlin in Credit Check on 18 May 2009 - Richard is Marketing Director at checkmyfile.

Every private landlord in England will be required to register on an official Government database in an effort to offer tenants better protection.

Landlords routinely run credit checks on potential tenants prior to deciding whether to rent them a property. Now, under new proposals, the table will be turned as tenants will be able to check that their landlord has met the minimum standards required to be listed on the official register.

The landlord’s name, home address and rental addresses are to be listed. Landlords will also receive a unique identifying code for use on tenancy agreements, on housing benefit claims and even on eviction proceedings.

The new proposals also give tenants the right for a minimum of 2 months' notice to vacate a property where the landlord has failed to meet mortgage repayments and where the property is to be repossessed. At present, the notice period is only 2 weeks.

Under the recommended changes, any landlords who fail to maintain rental properties or don’t keep tenants’ deposits safe run the risk of being struck off the register. Letting agents also face tighter regulations, with an independent regulator to be put in place to ensure that issues are resolved fairly.

A similar Landlord Register has been in existence for three years in Scotland, but no proposals have been put forward yet by the assemblies in Wales or Northern Ireland.

This year has seen a marked increase in the number of tenants facing eviction as a result of private landlords being repossessed. Analysts have warned that the trend could continue to worsen.

An increasing numbers of landlords have also suffered as a result of tenants being unable to pay rent on time as a result of losing their jobs and the recession. A report by the National Landlords Association states that a staggering 37% of landlords currently have tenants owing arrears of rent.

Although it is commonplace for landlords to carry out credit checks on tenants before handing over the keys, they are only able to see a small fraction of the data that appears on your full credit report. Whilst most lenders will use your full credit report to assess any application for credit, landlords can only see information held on your public credit report.

Our Multi-Agency Credit Report allows you to see how your private and public credit reports compare. The credit reports based on Callcredit and Equifax data show you what the UK’s largest lenders see when they check your file, and the credit report based on Experian public data will let you see what landlords, employers and smaller lenders can see.

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