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Mayor to rogue landlords and letting agents: ‘There's nowhere to hide'

Tuesday 19 December 2017

The Mayor of London’s office has released a statement warning rogue landlords and letting agents that they “have nowhere to hide” as Sadiq Khan launches the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker – London's first online 'name and shame' database to help private renters.

The Mayor believes the database, published on the City Hall website, will give Londoners greater confidence in renting a home by allowing them to check a prospective landlord or letting agent, as well as acting as a clear deterrent to the minority of landlords and letting agents who behave dishonestly.

Ahead of its launch, records from 10 London boroughs (Brent, Camden, Greenwich, Islington, Kingston, Newham, Southwark, Sutton, Waltham Forest, Westminster) and the London Fire Brigade have been published on the database, meaning more than 600,000 renters can now check rogue landlords and agents in their area – equivalent to 25 per cent of all renters living across the city.

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A further eight boroughs (Barking and Dagenham, Croydon, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Lewisham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets) have agreed to submit records in the coming weeks and the Mayor has today said he hopes all other London councils will soon add their data to help protect tenants living in their boroughs. The Mayor has no power to require local councils to submit their data, but has been working in close partnership with all boroughs to develop this new database on a London-wide basis.

As well as records on prosecutions and enforcement action, the database will offer tenants a tool for the easy reporting of landlords they suspect of unscrupulous practices. It will also contain records from the three national organisations offering a free and independent service for resolving disputes with their landlords (known as 'letting agent redress schemes').

The Mayor is calling on the Government to do its part in cracking down on dodgy landlords and agents, including by ensuring its compulsory national rogue landlord database – which it committed to introducing two years ago – supports London's initiative and makes data publicly available to tenants. Ministers' current plans are to develop a database that can only be accessed by the relevant authorities.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "The housing market in London is difficult enough for Londoners to navigate, without those landlords and letting agents who behave unscrupulously leaving tenants living in appalling conditions, despite often paying sky-high rents. I promised to do everything within my powers to help Londoners facing this problem – I will not stand by while they are exploited. Many landlords and agents across London offer a great service – but sadly some don't. My new database is about empowering Londoners to make informed choices about where they rent, and sending rogue operators a clear message: you have nowhere to hide. Boroughs on the database and I are using our existing powers to help London's renters – but to go much further we need investment and resources from central government. For a start they should stop dragging their feet on the creation of the compulsory national database they promised to set-up. Before Ministers have even laid the regulations for their database, we've planned, built and launched ours – and unlike the Government's plans, we have made our database accessible to the public.”