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National Landlord Register could lead to tax clampdown, say activists

The Generation Rent activist group has repeated its call for a landlord register in England, saying it could mean more tax revenues for HMRC.

It also wants more licensing, claiming that those local authorities that require landlords to be licensed take over twice as much enforcement action as other councils.

Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, says: “Existing licensing schemes have a clear track record of helping councils to identify unsafe homes and bring them up to standard, but the vast majority of private renters are not protected by them. 


“Nationwide landlord registration would give enforcement authorities valuable intelligence about this sector, make it easier to inform tenants of their rights, and prevent criminals from renting out homes in the first place.”

Her group also claims government figures show that 32 councils with selective licensing schemes identified an average of 158 ‘unsafe’ homes each, compared with 63 on average across 200 councils without such schemes during 2019-20. 

The group says it believes licensing gives councils greater powers to investigate homes and take action where they are found to be unsafe. 

Of the English councils that reported data in 2019-20, it says 32 councils which operated selective licensing schemes in that period reported finding 5,052 private rented homes with “category 1” hazards following an inspection - an average of 158 homes per council - and that 85 per cent of these were made free of hazards. 


There were 200 councils without selective licensing and they reported 12,607 unsafe homes in total - 63 homes per council - resolving 65 per cent of cases.

Generation Rent says a consequence of a national register could be increased tax revenues “since HMRC has no way to track down landlords who don’t declare rental income.”

It also claims the ‘tax gap’ from under-declared rent is £540m per year.

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    I have no problem with a LL register - the problem is setting it up efficiently and using it effectively. If it is used, as SL is, as a revenue stream for LAs the end result is just higher rents for tenants of compliant LLs.

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    Fine lets have a landlord register, and a tenant register

    • AQ
    • 26 October 2021 09:08 AM

    Can you imagine the uproar if we had a public register of tenants which carried warnings of non payment of rent, anti-social behaviour, refusing to leave after eviction notices are issued and general poor behaviour?

    Theodor Cable

    Has to be a tenant register as well. And why not?

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    I really don’t see how a register is going to solve anything, landlords who rent illegally aren’t going to just put their hands up and say here I am. The only landlords who will join it are those who are already compliant it’s just the same as selective licensing I paid the fee but no one checked what I said on the form was true no one inspected the properties it hasn’t actually made my houses any better


    DASH Nottingham want to inspect a property for their accreditation process, I have said fine and supplied all requested information and contact details as requested, tenants have said no thanks and won’t allow them to inspect. Now they say they won’t accredited me? I have pointed out the tenants are not obligated to allow them in to inspect and I can’t harass them either,

    Peter  Yednell

    The vast majority of rentals are up to standard.. The Council will only be making money out of cursury inspections (if any). They are not competent enough. The vast majority of sub standards properties are those let to benefit claimants.. Instead of encouraging bad landlords by paying UC/HB on property size rather than quality ... Any property receiving benefit rent should be inspected & market rent graded. After inspection.. The property could remain on a "benefit checked" register for five years which would allow further benefit claimants to automatically be able to claim.. There is no need to register /inspect every rental property in the country. No 1Park Lane, anyone? As for tax.. Is there any evidence of widespread abuse? The HMRC won't be able to line up any national list of all Landlords with tax payers.. Better to give landlords a special tax number they are obliged to give to tenants /put in the tenancy agreement. Without such a code the tenants could be allowed to deduct tax & pay it direct to HMRC for the Landlord to claim back from HMRC.

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    • AQ
    • 26 October 2021 09:05 AM

    I'll happily take a register and more funding for enforcement of standards in place of licensing arrangements. I fail to see why we were all donating £1000 to Joe Anderson's Caribbean retirement fund.

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    ENGLISH LANDLORDS - morning all. Genuine question. I am based in Scotland we have LRS (Landlord Registration Scotland) a register of all private landlords you must legally be listed on. Whilst we run a tight ship and have all of ours listed, there are many LL who either don’t bother or don’t care to register. The policing is very poor and the penalties are a slapped wrist at worst.
    Can any of you pease advise if you have this in place or are we being over regulated as usual by this Scot Gov!
    PS … plus we pay 4% stamp duty on second homes.


    I have properties in Scotland and England so I’m familiar with both schemes. The Scottish system (at the moment) has the benefit of not being too expensive (I think I pay about £70 every three years). It’s annoying and a waste of money, but at least they’re not completely taking the p1ss with costs. The annoying part of it, is that you have to register for every district you have property in. So my 2 properties are 3 miles apart but I have to register under two different regions and so I pay it twice because it’s not a national scheme.

    The 4% SDLT is extortion, as is the 3% we pay in England.

    To answer your question - yes you’re being screwed over, and so are we, it’s just that the screwing over seems to start in Scotland, then England copies if there’s not too much resistance. We don’t have to register as landlords in England yet, but you can be sure it’s on the way and will come complete with an excessive annual fee to ‘cover costs’.

    While the landlords licensing does force a minimum standard in terms of getting safety checks done and ensuring the property is at least habitable. It comes down to individual councils to decide how much they want to go after rogue landlords, and how much they want to penalise them. The licensing scheme, as we are all well aware makes little difference to this - it’s just a handy cash cow for the government.

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    Why have a LL Register for LL’s that are already Licensed that are screwed, they are taxed to the eyeballs and outrageous licensing schemes that don’t apply to huge numbers on Social housing and LL that let to Families. I believe most Benefit families are fraudulent that’s saying something you can include majority of Generation Rent in that, it’s ridiculous and destroying Society breaking up family units to work the scam, just how many divorces in recent years because of this injustice and currently in the pipeline to avail of all the goodies, I see it all the time and Government knows it for sure tho are doing the paying out, a working husband can’t compete with State hand outs pay a Mortgage, tax, c/tax at rear his family.
    Register LL’s that are not Licensed, put a hold on HMO renewals for LL’s that are already Licensed (some even 2 / 3 times) until all others have Licensed at least once, stop this Discrimination at injustice.

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    Generation Rent once again proving that they are really an anti landlord organisation rather than for tenants rights.

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    What’s the point of a public Register if its going to be like the HMO public register
    useable and designed to deceive, try it and see if you want to find out if a house / property in an area is licensed well not hope unless you have nothing else to do. Everything all mixed up mumbo jumbo all over the place, why not simply have everything in Chronological order so that even a moron like me could find it. Say put Register, Road by Road in the Borough or Post Code and all immediately available in front of you, not one on different pages all over the place all mixed up ?.

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    To Steve Austin, reference to you paying twice for registration, when I had 2 properties I only paid once to one LA who registered the other property at the same time on the basis of an extra fee for one house and no separate individual registration . It may have changed but I suspect not and you could save some registration monies. Check it out .


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