Your guide to the property portal for landlords - Renters (Reform) Bill
The Renters (Reform) Bill aims to deliver a new property portal for landlords in England. We break down what this means.
Under the Renters (Reform) Bill, the government will launch a new property portal. This will deliver a single "front door" to help landlords understand their obligations, while giving tenants more insight into their landlords' compliance. The portal will also give local councils access to more data, so that they can target criminal landlords.
- Why is the government introducing a new property portal for landlords?
- What will the new property portal for landlords look like?
- How and when will the property portal be introduced?
- What will be the rules for entries in the database?
- How will compliance be improved through the new portal?
- How will communications be improved alongside the portal?
- What information will tenants be able to access through the portal?
Want to know more about the property portal? Download our free e-book on the Renters (Reform) Bill.
Why is the government introducing a new property portal for landlords?
The government published its Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper in June 2022, which first outlined the plans for a property portal. Although no portal exists in England, there are similar registers for private landlords in Scotland and Wales.
The portal aims to be a central and digital overview of landlords and their properties across England. It is effectively a database that will cover landlords and their properties.
What will the new property portal for landlords look like?
The new digital property portal will be a "trusted one-stop-shop for guidance on renting in the PRS". It will give tenants more transparency on the standard of the property they're renting and give councils more visibility when serious issues arise.
The government will test potential solutions for the portal, focusing on user research and engaging with representative groups to make sure that the new system works for everyone involved.
The final solution will also be future proofed, so it can "flex to support future policy developments."
How and when will the portal be introduced?
The government outlines that it will initially create a database to cover both landlords and their properties. Once this database is in place, it will provide the foundations of a "future Privately Rented Property Portal service."
Although the portal will be digital, there will also be a "non-digital method of registration" available, and an easy way for local authorities to navigate this data.
What will be the rules for entries in the database?
Landlords and their properties will be given the category of "active" or "inactive". If an entry isn't active, the landlord won't be able to market, advertise, or let the property, unless it's made active again. Inactive entries will be archived for five years, and then deleted.
Active landlords and their properties will have a "unique identifier" which will need to be added to any written advertisement, to confirm registration in the database.
To be considered “active” landlords will need to keep entries up to date. There will be no fee to update the records.
How will compliance be improved through the new portal?
The government will also look into how it can combine the compliance and legal requirements in the portal to achieve the portal's goal of creating more transparency.
A "lead operating authority" will be considered too, to help local councils use the portal in the best way.
The portal will also aim to help councils enforce against criminal landlords. This database will be a de-facto "rogue landlord" database, as it will include entries on banning orders, convictions for serious offences, and other breaches.
How will communications be improved alongside the portal?
The white paper recognises that there are many rules and regulations for landlords to follow, which can be "overwhelming" - particularly for first-time landlords - and that communication is therefore key to "ensure clarity across the sector".
The government will look into how it can make sure messages "reach the right groups", using existing touch points to improve communication with those in receipt of benefits and working with partners that already provide information to landlords and tenants, such as Citizens Advice and the National Residential Landlords Association.
How will visibility into the rights and responsibilities for tenants and landlords be improved?
Landlords are already required to share the "how to rent" guide with their tenants at the start of the tenancy.
The white paper outlines that, in the future, landlords will also need to provide a written tenancy agreement which sets out all the basic information and responsibilities for the parties involved - which should help avoid disputes.
What information will tenants be able to access through the portal?
Although tenants will be able to access "necessary information in relation to their landlord’s identity and compliance with key legislative requirements", the white paper shares that not all data will be publicly available.
It will instead balance landlords’ privacy concerns against the information that private tenants require to make an informed decision when choosing their new rented home.
Please note this is intended as a guide only and is not exhaustive. Read more on the recommendations at gov.uk.