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New Law to Crack Down on Criminal Landlords 

Industry Insight July 3rd, 2015
New Law to Crack Down on Criminal Landlords 

Government draft a news law that would make it easier to find criminal landlords.

The Conservative MP Dame Angela Watkinson is drafting a bill that will change the way tenants register for council tax so that landlord information must be given to the local council.

Under the current law, only tenants have to know the name of their landlord and the information is not passed on to local councils. The new bill aims to help detect criminal landlords who try to avoid being identified.

The Draft Local Government Finance Bill would allow councils to request landlord information, along with the property’s tenure, when registering for council tax. If a tenant cannot provide their landlord’s information this signals to the council that further investigation is needed and they can identify the owner of the property through the Land Registry.

“Criminal landlords – You can run but you cannot hide.”

Dame Watkinson MP said “the draft Bill has already been welcomed by the Citizens Advice Bureau and has cross party support.”

This change was a key proposal of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) in their election manifesto and the RLA’s chairman Alan Ward responded to this news saying “This Bill sends a powerful message to criminal landlords that you can run but you cannot hide.

“For too long, a minority of landlords, operating under the radar, have been able to cause misery for their tenants and have been left unchecked by local authorities whose resources are too stretched.” 

The Bill would see more power given to local councils in discovering criminal landlords at the very start of a tenancy, saving the tenant and council both time and money. Mr Ward said that this change to the law would be a more effective method of discovering rented properties, and therefore criminal landlords, than a landlord register or licensing.

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