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Published On: November 7, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

The Property Portal: levelling up awareness of tenants’ and landlords’ rights and responsibilities

The new Property Portal will provide a single ‘front door’ but what does it mean in practice?

Following the Housing and Planning Act 2016, the government at the time introduced the Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents (“the Database”) in April 2018. However, most commentators think the Database has largely failed due to its inherent limitations. Although it made it mandatory for local authorities to report when a landlord or an estate agent received a Banning Order, the authorities were able to exercise discretion and an entry on the Database was only ever made where a landlord or estate agent had been convicted of a Banning Order offence or had received two or more civil penalties within a year. The information that was eventually entered on the Database was only available to be accessed by local authorities. Therefore, the government began a consultation on reforming the Database. The consultation ran between 21 July to 12 October in 2019. After years on ongoing efforts by the government, the consultation finally concluded on 8 September 2022.

The consultation outcome not only re-iterates that this applies to England only (and not Wales), but also refers to the introduction of the new digital Property Portal as set out in the ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’ White Paper published in June 2022. It states that the Property Portal will incorporate some of the functionality of the Database, but will go further than the Database by being a ‘front door’ to tenants, landlords and local authorities to access information, ensure compliance and effective enforcement.

How is the Property Portal different from the Database?

Much of the information available about the Property Portal can be found within the White Paper. Chapter 5 “Better compliance and robust enforcement” of the White Paper, sets out how the government envisages the Property Portal to meet the ulterior policy objective of reforming private rented sector in England. The Chapter begins by setting out the following which accurately reflects the title of the chapter itself:

  • Landlords and tenants should understand how to comply with their duties and obligations.
  • Wilfully non-compliant or criminal landlords have no place in the market.
  • Local councils need strong and effective enforcement tools to crack down on poor practice.

This signifies that the government is ready to go a step ahead to ensure active and uniformed compliance and enforcement to meet its objectives which was not possible with the Database.

The Property Portal provides a systematic approach whereby all landlords will be legally required to register their properties on the portal. Failure to register a rented property will result in enforcement action against the landlord.

It will also make it mandatory to enter all eligible offences and all civil penalties on the Portal and making offence data publicly viewable. However, this will be subject data protection rules and is subject to consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The Portal is also different to the Database as through the Portal, the government also aims to strengthen consistency across the country. Some local authorities prioritise private rented sector enforcement, where some are not as robust. This has resulted in a variation in enforcement levels across England and a post code lottery for landlords where the local authorities are unable to crack down non-compliant landlords due to lack of information. Then there’s also the Mayor’s database. Therefore, the Portal aims to support all local authorities to target reckless and/or negligent landlords who exploit their tenant’s rights and fail to comply with their legal obligations.

Further, it is clear that the government has a vision for the future and is looking to ‘future proof’ the portal so it can flex to support future policy developments and support effort to adapt to the specific needs and raise standards in the sector – something that the Database has largely failed to do.

What are the advantages of the Property Portal?

One of the advantages for the landlords of the proposed Property Portal is that it will allow them to build a public profile whereby they will be able to demonstrate regulatory compliance and attract prospective tenants. This will also incentivise those wilfully non-compliant landlords who have continued to ignore regulatory compliance. However, for landlords convicted of Banning Order offences and any civil penalty, it will mean a loss of business until the time period for the Banning order offence runs out. The White Paper is not clear whether the previous convictions will continue to be listed on the Portal as well as the civil penalties where the landlords have paid the fines and remedied the issues subject of the civil penalties.

For the tenants, the main advantage of the Property Portal will be being aware of their rights and having the ability to distinguish between a good vs a bad landlord and/or estate agent.

Likewise, for the local authorities, the Property Portal will bring all the relevant information in one place and mean easier and effective enforcement by being able to systemically identify rogue or criminal landlords.

Communication is key

However, it is clear from the White Paper that communication is at the core of compliance and effective enforcement. The White Paper notes that the proposed reforms “will only make a difference if they are understood and effectively enforced.” This requires actively informing landlords and estate agents of their obligations including registering properties on the Portal and any continuing obligations in relation to maintenance for the properties as well as providing guidance on how to comply with these obligations.

It also requires informing the tenants of their rights and how to use the information available on the Portal to make informed decisions about where they choose to live. The proposals do make it clear however that landlord’s privacy will be protected, and tenants will only be able to access the relevant and necessary information to aid them in decision making.

In line with this, the White Paper also makes reference to the increasing use of How to Rent guides. Perhaps the government intends to incorporate information about the use and information available on the Portal in the HTR guides to encourage the practice of landlords giving their tenants HTR guides simultaneous to providing information on the property portal, although this is not stated clearly.

Further, the White Paper proposes using a range of strategies and channels, including Department for Work and Pensions and organisations like Citizens Advice Bureau, the National Residential Landlords Association and Shelter to ensure those digitally excluded and other marginalised groups also have access to the information and are as aware of their rights.


In essence, it is hoped that the Property Portal will require landlords to take a proactive approach to property management, benefiting those landlords who are already compliant, encouraging rogue landlords to comply and simplifying enforcement for local authorities against the later category of landlords. For tenants this will mean having accessible information to make decisions and undertake due diligence checks before signing a rental agreement and binding themselves to the terms of the agreement. As stated in the White Paper, “the portal will act as a trusted one-stop-shop for guidance on renting in the PRS – levelling up awareness of tenants’ and landlords’ rights and responsibilities across the country.”

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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