Wolverhampton pioneering way as LGA call for rogue landlords national database

  • Post published:18th December 2015
  • Post Category:Local News

City of Wolverhampton Council has welcomed the Local Government Association’s (LGA) call for a national database to crackdown on rogue landlords – as it gears up for its own pioneering five-star rating system to improve the quality of housing in the private sector.

The Local Government Association (LGA) – which used Wolverhampton as one of four local authorities to assist in the research that led to the call for action – warns an increasing number of serial criminal landlords, who are being blocked from operating by some boroughs running licensing schemes for houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), are then immediately moving to other postcodes and trying to set up their unscrupulous businesses.

The LGA says local authorities face a legislative system which is “feeble, failing and unfit for purpose” and is being exploited by some greedy landlords. It insists councils need a national database backed by the Government, which they can all access, to identify and effectively target the serial rogue operators.

In September, City of Wolverhampton Council announced it is embarking on a scheme which will see a new five-star rating system introduced for private landlords.

The ‘Rent with Confidence star rating system for private landlords’ will come into effect from April 2016 and aims to encourage greater customer choice and raise living standards.

It will work in a similar way to the rating scheme used by the Food Standards Agency for restaurants and takeaways.

Stars will be awarded to landlords who comply with the law and who rent out property above the minimum statutory standards, with financial incentives for five-star landlords.

Councillor Peter Bilson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Assets, said: “Standards need to be improved across the board and we need to stop the exploitation of people whose choices are limited. We back the LGA’s call for a national database to tackle rogue landlords 100 per cent. Our five-star system is both innovative and should make a real difference to improving the quality of private sector rental property in Wolverhampton as we continue to regenerate the city.  Visually the scheme will be easily recognisable and will help tenants and other housing providers identify the best landlords.”

The detail is now being developed in consultation with partner agencies and landlords.  It is as part of a wider package of housing measures aimed at improving standards across Wolverhampton. The scheme will work in conjunction with the council’s ‘Educate, Encourage, Enforce’ approach to ensuring the city’s private rental market meets the needs and aspirations of residents.

The best landlords will be highlighted and education support, where required, will be provided to help them maintain their top star status.

Rogue landlords and criminal landlords will be hit with a revised and more robust enforcement policy, and further use of licensing powers.

One of the incentives of the star rating system for a five-star landlord is they will not have to pay for any non-mandatory licenses.

Overall, the scheme will see improved health and wellbeing of residents, along with better property and housing management standards, and longer term stability in neighbourhoods.  The scheme will improve the private rented offer and support the economic regeneration of the city.

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