Clause 43 - Access to the database

Part of Renters (Reform) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 28 November 2023.

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Photo of Lloyd Russell-Moyle Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour/Co-operative, Brighton, Kemptown 10:30, 28 November 2023

The Bill contains a list of organisations and agencies that will have access to the portal. Tenants are not included in that list. I hope that that is because they have access through some other means, or that the Minister will stand up and say, “Don’t worry, you’ve missed it—it’s in x, y and z.” But my reading is that there is no presumption that tenants and presumptive tenants will have full access to all the information about the house they are moving into and its landlord.

We have heard in evidence that it is important that tenants have the information before they sign a contract. Any effective free market has to be based on the knowledge of the person who is making a choice to purchase something. The tenant is clearly one such person, so the tenant needs to know the background of the person and the quality of the house before they sign.

It might be that the Government plan for such information to be public—that would mitigate the need for the amendment—but I worry that some information will be public and some redacted, particularly information on house prices, former house prices and rental prices. That kind of information should be made available to the tenant. Tenants and prospective tenants should have full, unredacted information about the house and the landlord of the property that they are in or want to be in. I seek reassurances from the Minister on the matter.