Clause 32 - The database

Part of Renters (Reform) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:15 am ar 28 Tachwedd 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government) 10:15, 28 Tachwedd 2023

In the debate on our amendment 173 to clause 23, I remarked on the concern among Opposition members of the Committee that, in contrast to chapter 2 of part 2 concerning the ombudsman, chapter 3 of part 2 concerning the private rented sector database is not nearly prescriptive enough.

To be clear, when it comes to establishing a private rented sector database and developing the new digital property portal service that it will support, we do not wish to tie the Government’s hands too tightly. We believe it is right that much of the detail is put in regulation at a later date: how the database will be operated and overseen; how entries are verified, corrected and removed; what the registration fees are and how they will be collected; and how information on the database is shared with third parties. However, we also believe that certain requirements of the functioning of the portal should be placed on the face of the Bill.

In our view, such requirements should include one for landlords to submit key information on their history and for that information to be publicly available so that tenants may make informed decisions when entering into a tenancy agreement and hold their landlord to account. Key information might include details of past enforcement action taken against a landlord or an agent representing them; any rent repayment, banning or management orders made against them; rent levels for the property over time in the form of past section 13 notices; and details of notices of possession served to previous tenants.

Amendment 175 would add to the Bill a requirement for

“the database to record details of notices of possession”

—as one example—

“served by a landlord in respect of each” of their dwellings let. As I said, we feel strongly that the Bill should be amended to guarantee a minimum set of expectations for the database and the new digital property portal service; the amendment would go some way to ensuring that is the case. I look forward to hearing the Minister’s thoughts on it.