ARLA Propertymark has called for the national blacklist of rogue letting agents to be opened up to the industry, so that agents can avoid hiring crooked staff.
At the moment the database – which also contains the names of landlords – can only be accessed by local and central government.
ARLA says that while local councils will know that an agent on the blacklist is banned from the industry, a prospective employer will not.
The Government launched a consultation this summer as to whether to open up the database to tenants and prospective tenants trying to research their agent and/or landlord.
The trade body has said in its official response that it should do just that – but should go much further.
It wants to see the database access widened to membership organisations and letting agents.
The organisation also wants to see individual agents ‘named and shamed’ and not firms.
Its response states: “ARLA Propertymark believes that letting agents would greatly benefit from access to the database.
“This is because they will be able to properly vet potential employees before making any recruitment decision.
“Currently as the database stands letting agents are concerned that because only the local authority can view entrants, they may be at risk of hiring a banned letting agent.
“For this reason, we also think that it is vital that the database focuses on individuals rather than the agency that employs them.
“This is because, if an estate agency business receives a database entry rather than the individual working within it, there is nothing stopping the rogue letting agent from setting up another company or working in lettings elsewhere.
“Placing the focus on the individual agent would limit this.
“By making the database open and transparent, access to the details of banned letting agents would be a greater added protection to employers than just receiving employment references.”
The consultation closes on October 12 and agents that have indeed found themselves innocently hiring staff who have, for example, just come out of jail after stealing tenancy deposits, might like to contribute their opinions.