The database of rogue landlords and property agents was first introduced in April 2018 as a tool for local authorities to record the most serious cases of non-compliance. Since then, the Government has committed to making the database public. A consultation seeking views on this ran from July-October 2019.
In the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper (June 2022), the Government proposed a new Property Portal – incorporating the database of rogue landlords and property agents – that would allow consumers to access information on compliance.
safeagent has been reviewing the details of this on behalf of its members and highlighted a crucial gap in the plans, with no mention of failure to belong to a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme as an offence.
CMP is a legal requirement and provides essential protection for both tenants and landlords, so it’s omission is significant.
Our chief executive, Isobel Thomson, has spoken about safeagent’s support for transparency and publication of the database, while sharing concerns that this vital element has been missed:
“safeagent welcomes the Government’s announcement that the rogue landlord and letting agent database will be made public, helping renters choose from the vast majority in the sector who do their job properly. However, we are concerned the database is currently missing a crucial element.
“Inclusion under a Client Money Protection scheme has been a legal obligation for agents since 2019 – and has improved consumer confidence in the system knowing that their money is protected from misappropriation and fraud. Yet failure to be part of a CMP scheme appears to be absent from the defined offences on the database, the terms of which were defined before the requirement for CMP was introduced.
“Financial protection in the PRS is something safeagent and its agents long campaigned for – meaningful choice for consumers requires open and accurate information to inform their choice. If this is going to be done properly then we must shine a light on dark spots and make sure consumers are getting the full picture. We therefore urge the Government to update the database and associated banning order offences to incorporate CMP requirements.”