When are we going to stop penalising the good guys and let the bad guys pay for a change?

James Brokenshire, The Secretary of State for Housing, has made a
shock announcement recently, significantly widening the redress scheme membership including landlords, student housing providers, new
homes developers and park home operators.

All private landlords in the UK are to be forced to join a redress scheme, the government has revealed, scooping up over an estimated 1.5 million
landlords into regulation. The announcement is part of a wide-ranging
package of regulatory measures revealed by Secretary of State for
Housing James Brokenshire, following last year’s consultation on the

Mr. Brokenshire plans to “bring forward legislation that will require all private landlords, including providers of purpose-built student housing and park home site operators, to belong to a redress scheme,” he says. “This would ensure that all tenants have access to redress services in any given situation and that all complaints can be addressed.”Other measures alongside this, include requiring all freeholders to join a redress scheme
regardless of whether they use a managing agent or not. Also, all new
homes developers will have to join a scheme too, and the minister also
plans to create a specific new homes ombudsman.

Lastly, Mr. Brokenshire is to set up both a one-stop shop for housing
complaints, regardless of tenure to be called the Housing Complaints
Resolution Service, and a single code of practice to cover all the housing sectors. At long last, the government are listening to the common-sense brigade within the industry, who are tired of trying to regulate the
market simply by adding rules and regulations, often not communicated
so the industry is unaware of their obligations. The first thing before
anything else both logically and ethically, is the requirement to register
every landlord.  It is pointless having a register of rogue landlords, if you don’t know (and can’t find) a definitive list of landlords in the first place, how do you know which ones are rogues other than as when they are
reported? What we need is an accelerated process and I have just the
idea to make it work.

My suggestion would be to have a free registration with the minimal of a redress scheme (perhaps a one-off fee of £50). Then for landlords that do not register, an automatic fine of £5,000 for non-compliance. If a “Crime Stoppers” style department was set up where the public could
anomalously report landlords for not being registered and receive a
reward of say £1000 for every successful claim.  The remaining £4000
would more than cover the administrative cost of the department plus
any court expenses that required payment,prior to any prosecution. 

However, it is well worth remembering, that any landlord who has failed to register their details, is they are more than likely going to come under
the “Rogue Landlord” banner anyway, so all of their properties should
be inspected right away. This exercise will no doubt bring in considerably
more money in further non-compliance fines. The lovely part of this
initiative, is that from a government point of view it is a “Self-Funding”
exercise and even better it is the bad landlords NOT the good landlords that are providing the income stream (money), to run this operation.

It is not about time we started exercising some common sense here. This is an ideal opportunity to get the property market back on its feet at last. Especially at a time when we as a nation appear to be let down time and
time again, by politicians, who appear to be driven buy their own
agendas, rather than the will of the people who voted them in, in the first place? Well it’s an interesting thought, don’t you think? If you would like to discuss your letting needs, you can call me at my Durham Office on;
0191 212 6970 and I would be happy to do so.  

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