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Proposed national register for UK landlords criticised as overly intrusive

The UK government is proposing to introduce a register that would inlcude the landlord's name and home address as well as the address of rental properties. Landlords would be required to pay a £50 annual registration fee.

It is part of a bigger plan to introduce full mandatory licencing of all letting and managing agents.

The national register would be run by an independent organisation and landlords would receive a registration number to be used in tenancy agreements, court proceedings including eviction, and housing benefit claims. They could be struck off the register for not protecting tenants' deposits or for failing to carry out essential repairs.

The aim would be to root out rogue landlords who leave vulnerable tenants high and dry, and bring damage to the reputation of the buy-to-let sector, according to the Communities and Local Government department.

But some experts have expressed their opposition, saying the collection of rental property addresses would be of no benefit to tenants or landlords.

The National Landlords Association, the leading representative body for private residential landlords, says that a similar compulsory landlord registration scheme has existed in Scotland for three years and has been shown to not work with one in four rental properties not registered.

'The NLA would be opposed to the collection of rental property addresses. We consider this to be overly intrusive and of no direct benefit to tenants or landlords. Landlords already face a heavy regulatory burden as it is,' said David Salusbury, chairman of the NLA.

'In the current economic climate, the last thing good landlords need is to feel penalised.

If a register is introduced it needs to focus totally on pushing up standards and rooting out rogue landlords,' he added.

'Landlords are facing more and red tape against a backdrop of increasingly difficult financial times for them. They will be asking what they get for their £50 or whether it is just a landlord's tax,' said David Hollingworth, of mortgage brokers London & Country.