Could UPRNs start a real revolution in renting?
Across the country, dozens of local authorities are clamping down on rogue landlords by setting up licensing schemes to ensure the rental sector is operated within the law. This is costing landlords a small fortune in many cases as licensing fees can run into thousands of pounds for those with multiple properties.
So what if there was a better way to make sure landlords are operating within the law? Well, there is – but it’s not up and running yet. If you’ve never heard of Unique Property Reference Numbers or UPRNs you soon will. They are set to change the way the whole rental market works. And this is how.
Every property in the country now has a UPRN. This means that any house, flat or commercial property can be identified and information related to it kept on record. That’s not happening yet but in future the aim is for everyone involved in the property industry from letting agents and property managers through to Gas Safe engineers and tenant deposit providers all to use the same reference number. This will link all the relevant information about any individual property and means that, in future, anyone who wants to will be able to see instantly the status of a particular property – much like the MOT on your car is logged at the DVLA and available to view online.
Landlord compliance with all the relevant property checks and legal requirements will be available for tenants to see in just a few clicks, effectively putting rogue landlords operating unsafe rental properties out of the market – and (in theory anyway) making the need for licensing schemes redundant. The system is designed to empower tenants but the knock on effects will benefit landlords too.
But don’t hold your breath because this could take some time to be put into practice. The Government is dragging its feet – and Covid-19 isn’t helping. But when UPRNs are made freely available – and they will be eventually – they could genuinely revolutionise the way the rental market operates. Fingers crossed they will make the PRS safer – and cheaper – for both landlords and tenants.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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