Letting agents who are banned should be named and shamed, says new government guidance issued this morning.
The guidance – which is non-statutory – appears to have been issued to counter criticisms that the new blacklist of rogue agents and landlords will not be available to members of the general public or to prospective employers in the industry.
ARLA boss David Cox says that the secrecy of the blacklist makes it pointless.
However, today’s guidance says: “We would encourage local housing authorities to make successful banning orders for individual landlords [and agents] public.
“They will wish to consider how to publish details of successful banning orders, including the names of individual landlords, at a local level.
“Many local housing authorities already publicise successful prosecutions of rogue landlords through the local press.
“A local housing authority should take their own legal advice and consider their own local circumstances in determining whether banning orders should be publicised, but we would encourage them to do so.”
The guidance goes on to say specifically that any lettings agency which has been subject to a banning order “can be named publicly. We would encourage local housing authorities to publicise the names of all business that are subject to a banning order”.
It also says that housing authorities should make information on banned landlords available on request by a tenant.
Banning orders can be appealed and, in some circumstances, delayed in order to allow agents to wind down their businesses. Banning orders must be for at least six months.