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Buy-to-let landlords face dealing with more red tape if proposed rules forcing them to be listed on a national register are implemented.

By Richard Evans from the telegraph.co.uk

Last Updated: 3:59PM BST 13 May 2009

The Government also want full regulation for private sector letting agents, who do not currently need professional credentials.

The national register of landlords would be run by an independent organisation and landlords would have to register annually for a "nominal" fee to cover the administration costs, the Department for Communities & Local Government (CLG) said in a statement.

The register would be "light-touch" and would be web-based "to ensure that it does not become an unnecessary burden on the market".

Landlords would need to include their registration number on all tenancy agreements and could be removed from the register for persistent poor performance, such as failing to carry out essential repairs, or not protecting tenants' deposits, the CLG said.

The department added: "To ensure this does not become an unnecessary burden on the market the register will be web-based and will require minimal information such as the name of landlord, their address and address of the property being let.

"Introducing a light-touch national register of every private landlord in England [would] increase protection for both vulnerable tenants and good landlords."

The Government has also proposed the creation of an independent regulator for all letting and managing agents. As agents do not currently need to have professional credentials, "both tenants and landlords have no realistic redress when things go wrong", it said.

It also wants an improved complaints and redress procedure for tenants. The CLG said: "For the first time, the Government will look to set up a mechanism whereby tenants are able to register official complaints about substandard landlords, and if these complaints are substantial and proven then landlords may be removed from the national register."

The Government's consultation on the proposals will close on July 31.

It also announced its intention to change the law to ensure that tenants have a minimum of two months' notice if they have to leave their home because their landlord has been repossessed.

The CLG's statement said: "The Government wants to improve the quality of the private rented sector, by increasing professionalism, driving out bad landlords and strengthening protection for tenants affected by repossessions."

The National Landlords Association (NLA) objected to the requirement for landlords to submit details of their property holdings on the national register.

"A similar compulsory landlord registration scheme has existed in Scotland for three years and has been shown to not work, with one in four rental properties not registered," the NLA said.

David Salusbury, its chairman, added: "It is possible to see some benefit to a 'no hurdle', low-cost, easy-to-use register for landlords as part of a concerted drive to root out rogue operators.

"However, the NLA would be opposed to the collection of rental property addresses. We consider this to be overly intrusive and of no direct benefit to tenants or landlords.

"The private-rented sector is already heavily regulated and many recent changes have yet to settle down."

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Landlords in England and Wales will be required to register on a national register of landlords run by an independent organisation.

Landlord would have to pay every year a fee to be in register, this fee would use towards the register's administrative costs.

Landlords would have to advise on the tenancy agreements their registration number and could be removed from register for poor performance.

What do you think: will be benefit for the sector to remove the cowboys or will have a detriment affect?

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