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New ‘name and shame’ site will expose crooked letting agents to the public

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Criminal letting agents and landlords in London will be ‘named and shamed’ on a new online database, Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced.

The new database will be open to the public, going further than the national ‘blacklist’ due to be launched this autumn.

This has been criticised as it will be open only to local and central government – meaning that it cannot be searched by prospective tenants and landlords, nor by agents who might be looking to recruit new staff as well as wanting to check out landlord clients.

The new London database is to be built in partnership with London boroughs and published on the Mayor’s website. It will cite criminal landlords and letting agents who have been successfully prosecuted for housing offences.

Like the national database, it is due to launch in the autumn. It will enable councils London-wide easily to share between themselves and with the public, information on agents’ and landlords’ criminal histories and provide details of enforcement activity and investigations. Londoners will also be able to report suspected criminal landlords or letting agents online.

The ‘name and shame’ database will be developed in the coming months with information from six councils – Newham, Brent, Camden, Southwark, Kingston and Sutton – with other boroughs across London to follow.

The Mayor made the announcement as he joined a criminal landlord enforcement raid in Newham, carried out under the council’s borough-wide licensing scheme for private rented properties.

Alongside the Mayor’s efforts to improve conditions in the private rented sector, Khan also announced plans for a new Homes for Londoners property portal on City Hall’s website, which aims to list affordable homes to buy and rent.

Khan said: “I refuse to stand by as thousands of Londoners suffer sky-high rents and horrendous living conditions in a city they call home.

“Today I have seen first-hand the abysmal conditions that some of London’s private renters are forced to endure.

“I will be working in partnership with London boroughs to launch my new ‘name and shame’ database of criminal landlords and letting agents to help Londoners before they rent a property, and to deter dishonest landlords and agents from operating.”

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, said he welcomed the initiative.

He said: “We have campaigned for the Government’s database of banned letting agents to be publicly available as, with no public access to the database, how will landlords or tenants know if they are using a banned agent?

“This online database overcomes that problem and means tenants and landlords in London can rent with the confidence of knowing their agent has not committed any offences.”

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