First details of the ‘property portal’ for landlords and tenants
First details of the ‘private rental portal’ revealed in last weeks’ Queen’s Speech have emerged.
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It is thought the portal will be similar to portals already in use in Wales and Scotland, but more comprehensive.
These portals will use the address of each private rented property in England to create a database of homes and their landlords/agents.
It is expected they will include information including the owner of the property, the company managing it if applicable and an address for the owner/management, as in Scotland.
This portal and the information held in it, could then be linked to any redress cases associated with the property and its landlord.
It would also include any information on enforcement orders, repairing standards, or any other breaches of the Decent Homes Standard.
To assist landlords, an ‘ombudsman’ service will facilitate landlords and tenants in dispute and help them to deal with issues outside of court.
Briefing notes accompanying the Queen’s Speech explain:
The Bill will… help landlords understand their obligations, give tenants performance information to hold their landlord to account, and help councils crack down on poor practice.
What regulatory information could be included?
It is not currently clear whether the portal will include regulatory information such as:
Already in Scotland, landlords on the register have to include their registration number on property listings advertising, enabling prospective tenants to easily check their previous history.
This requirement is likely to be copied in England.
David Holmes, senior policy adviser for the private rented sector at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), speaking at an online Geospatial conference, said:
It could provide more data to give local authorities accurate information on private rental properties and support the targeted enforcement of standards based on a better understanding of the stock.
Improving awareness of landlord obligations
He added that it could also improve private landlords’ awareness of their obligations and act as a “conduit for communicating changes and provide tenants with more information on the standards of properties they are viewing and obligations a landlord could owe to them.”
If landlords in England are found to have broken rules, the results could see then ejected from the portal, making it impossible for them to rent their properties legally.
This is already the case in the Scottish and Welsh systems.
Head of Redress at the PRS, Sean Hooker, says his organisation “looks forward to working with the DLUHC to developer its plans for the portal”.
The property portal is one of 38 bills which were announced last week by Prince Charles as part of the Queen’s Speech.
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