Tenants are now able to check whether the landlord or agent they want to rent a property from is a rogue thanks to the launch of a new London database.
Brent is one of the first London boroughs rolling out the Greater London Authority's Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker.
The names and addresses of landlords and agents who have been prosecuted for housing offences within the past year have been uploaded onto the database. Their information will remain searchable for a year on the publicly accessible side of the Checker, and for up to 10 years between Councils and the London Fire Brigade.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: "Our inclusion in this first wave reflects the trailblazing work carried out by our licensing enforcement team in cracking down on rogue landlords who exploit tenants.
"Brent has played a key role in helping the GLA to design how the system works. We believe the GLA database will further empower renters in Brent against criminal landlords and continue to raise living standards within the borough."
Brent is proud to be of the ten London Councils included in this first phase launch, alongside Camden, Greenwich, Islington, Kingston, Newham, Southwark, Sutton, Waltham Forest and Westminster. The aim is for the database to become London-wide, including all London councils.
The Checker has three key parts. The first is a publicly available list of landlords and agents who have faced enforcement action. The second is a private database accessible only to London boroughs and the London Fire Brigade, containing a greater range of enforcement actions. Lastly, there will be a reporting tool - www.London.gov.uk/rogue-landlord-checker - to allow private tenants to make a complaint about their landlord or agent to their local authority.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: "We want to put an end to rogue landlords exploiting the housing crisis by taking money from tenants living in poorly managed properties and in sub-standard conditions. The Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker is a deterrent to any landlord thinking of going down that route. It will also empower tenants to make the best possible choice about who they decide to pay their rent to."
Anyone is able to access the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker through a link on the Brent Council website as well as through the GLA website. The system has been designed to allow councils to share information about rogue landlords in order to help potential renters make informed decisions about where they choose to live.
If you are a Brent landlord who lets out shared accommodation, you can apply for a licence online at www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing
If you suspect that someone is renting out an unlicensed property in Brent, please report them anonymously at www.brent.gov.uk/reportaproperty