Croydon househunters and estate agents will be the country’s first to benefit from a groundbreaking council database to spot dodgy landlords.
With the help of a £15,000 Government grant announced today, Croydon Council will become the first local authority to develop a database that tracks housing fraud in both private and social rented housing.
Through a simple online check, estate agents will be able to find out if properties for rent are suitable – and pass to council investigators if they are not.
The Department of Communities and Local Government grant has been awarded to the council’s landlord licensing team, set up to raise standards in the local private rented sector.
Since launching in October, Croydon Council’s landlord licensing team has registered more than 24,000 properties, got hundreds of landlords to comply with the new rules and this month began preparing the first batch of over 25 prosecutions.
Using software called i-Latch, the database will allow estate agents to tell if a private rented property does not have the required Croydon Council landlord licence or if it is actually a council house being sublet illegally.
Any property searches flagged as unlicensed or illegally sublet will be sent automatically to council officers to start enquiries. Estate agents and prospective tenants will also know immediately to avoid using the property.
“Our landlord licensing scheme is already raising standards in the local property market, and this database will help give househunters and lettings agents extra peace of mind.
“This database will be a valuable addition to our licensing scheme that highlights the many good landlords in Croydon and tackles the rogue ones, and we’re glad that the Government recognises the work Croydon is doing in this field.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning