In a bid to shield landlords and agents from problematic tenants, a campaign urging the UK Government to establish a ‘Property Possession Order Register’ has been initiated. The objective of the proposed register is to reveal the history of tenants notorious for their behavioural misdemeanours, such as rent defaults or causing damage to rented properties.
The proposal is the brainchild of Nyree Applegarth, a property lawyer at the West Midlands law firm Higgs LLP. Applegarth is a staunch advocate for offering landlords and agents an enhanced toolkit to identify and consequently avoid tenants with a history of detrimental conduct.
Specifically, she proposes a mechanism that would divulge tenants’ past County Court judgements related to rent non-payment or property damage. “A ‘Property Possession Order Register’ would act as a safeguard for landlords against property damage, unpaid rent, and curtail property disputes and consequent litigation costs,” Applegarth states.
The campaign comes on the heels of the UK Government’s launch of a national register for landlords in England. This is part of the Renters’ Reform Bill currently making its way through Parliament.
Applegarth acknowledges the potentially contentious nature of the proposed register, given recent criticism by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) that such measures could prompt discrimination. However, she argues that current tenant referencing processes fall short of providing an accurate assessment.
“To draw a parallel, when you apply for a job, you seek references from individuals who you know will vouch for you positively. Likewise, even if a reference is from an employer, they cannot truly attest to a person’s conduct as a tenant,” she elaborates.
Applegarth further underlines her commitment to the proposed register, stating, “By introducing a ‘Property Possession Order Register’, landlords would be able to verify any orders that have been previously issued against a prospective tenant. This would shield honest, hardworking landlords from the risk of troublesome tenants.”
With landlords grappling with increasing financial and regulatory pressures, Applegarth believes the proposed register, managed by the courts, would “alleviate these concerns and could reassure landlords to stay in the sector,” adding that it would invariably lead to a reduction in property disputes and associated litigation costs.