A new policy review of the private rented sector was recently published by Labour. It recommends that all landlords be obliged to join a national database, incurring a fee from those landlords.

The plans have been criticised by lenders and brokers, who believe the database will mean landlords will pass on the additional costs to their tenants.
Such a scheme already exists in Scotland, and one is planned by the Welsh Assembly to begin in 2015. Some English councils – such as Newham – also manage a database of landlords.

The system in Scotland incurs a fee of £55 from each landlord with properties in a particular council – per council – and an additional £11 per property which pays for a ‘fit and proper person’ check.

In Newham, a five year license is granted at a cost of £500. A penalty of up to £20,000 is incurred if a landlord fails to register.
Checks are carried out for previous convictions, firearms offences, housing offences and discrimination.
The aim of a database covering the whole of England is to increase the quality of housing and push out bad landlords. It will also help retrieve up to £500,000 of avoided tax, according to Labour.

The Government are not in favour of regulating the private rental sector. But BM Solutions, a buy-to-let lending arm of Lloyds TSB, backs the plans, asserting that it will drive up standards and increase how much rent landlords can charge.

Are you one of our landlords building insurance customers with an opinion on this move? Would it mean increasing your rent? Is it more red tape that inhibits your business? Or do you think it will help improve housing stock in England? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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