Londoners support mandatory licensing and searchable rogue landlord database

Mandatory licensing and being able to search a database for rogue landlords are the top improvements that tenants in London would like to see, new research has found.

There is also support for some kind of rent controls to make renting a home more affordable but not a lot for longer tenancies, according to the YouGov survey for rental marketplace The House Shop.

It found that 65% would like landlords to be licensed and registered on an official database while 63% want to be able to look up a potential landlords to check for any unprofessional or illegal activity.

While there is already a basic rogue landlord database in London there is not a single, comprehensive database with national coverage, Nick Marr, co-founder of The House Shop, pointed out that unscrupulous landlords can continue letting out sub-standard rental properties with no way for future tenants to know about their past.

The third most popular option among Londoners was improving rent controls, for example by imposing a maximum cap on rental prices. Some 61% said they believe that a better form of rent control would have a positive impact.

According to Dan Wilson Craw, director at campaign group Generation Rent, explained that when finding a new place to live, renters really know very little about what they’re signing up to, especially what the landlord will be like to deal with.

‘It’s not surprising that there is so much support for measures like licensing and a database of dodgy landlords. A database would allow renters to avoid the worst operators, while licensing will provide extra confidence that landlords meet minimum standards,’ he said.

The removal of upfront fees is also popular with 57% supporting such a move while 57% would like to seem better information on tenant rights. Some 57% also support longer tenancies.

Currently the Government is considering the introduction of longer tenancies as standard, with a minimum three year term offered on all rental contracts. There has been relatively broad support for this among politicians, but the survey results from the general public showed less support.

The research also found that 53% believe that simple changes such as improved communication directly with a landlord, as opposed to going through a third party agency, would improve the renting experience.