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 Jacob Young Jacob Young Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 10:15, 28 Tachwedd 2023

Clause 32 provides for the establishment and operation of the portal, as we have been discussing. With access to a comprehensive and standardised dataset on private rented sectors across England, local authorities will be best equipped to develop and implement their enforcement strategies. By requiring landlords to undertake a registration process, as provided by clause 34—which I will turn to in due course—the portal will help them to meet standards within the private rented sector by making them aware of their legal requirements.

With legislative backing and clear duties on users, a portal with entries for private landlords and dwellings will support a much richer understanding of the private rented sector and assist the Government in developing targeted policy. As such, the portal will be key to the successful implementation and enforcement of the wider reforms legislated for in the Bill.

Clause 33 sets out who can be the portal operator; a role required to create and maintain a working database of private landlords and their properties. The operator can appointed by the Secretary of State or a person arranged by the Secretary of State. The Government envisage the portal will be centrally co-ordinated by a single operator. Our legislation allows for the portal to be operated by the Department or to arrange for an alternative, such as a public body, to take on that responsibility.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his Amendment 175. This would require landlords to record their use of possession grounds, under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, on the property portal. To ensure the portal maintains the flexibility to meet the future needs of the sector, it is necessary that we use regulations to prescribe the information it collects, rather than including these in the Bill.

We intend for the portal to be a source of basic information about properties and their health and safety compliance. This legislation also allows for the ability to record tenancy-related issues, such as details of possession notices. We will consider the matter of recorded possession notices on the portal ahead of passing regulations, and carefully consider the balance of benefits and burden on landlords and local authorities when deciding what information to record. We will continue to work with stakeholders to assess the merits of information requirements, ahead of introducing any regulations. I therefore ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his amendment.