In June a draft for a “Local Government Finance (Tenure Information) Bill was read in parliament by Dame Angela Watkinson, Conservative MP for Hornchurch and Upminster.

The Local Government Finance Bill was proposed to help identify and stop criminal landlords. The official parliament website describes the Bill as a “Bill to amend the Local Government Finance Act 1992 to make provision for collecting information about tenure and the details of private landlords; and for connected purposes”.

At current time, any new tenants moving into a property are obliged by law to make the local authorities aware of their arrival through council tax registration forms. No information on the tenure of the property, its location, or the landlord’s details are required by authorities however, and although tenants are already legally entitled to know their landlords name, this is often not enough to prevent or take action in time against illegal activity.

The new details that would be required if the Bill was passed would give the council more information on potentially criminal landlords, helping to deter them from any wrong doing. By identifying those reluctant to give out information, the council would have a better idea of who they might need to monitor for illegal conduct and activity.

The Bill has already received support from Dame Angela’s fellow Tory MP’s Boris Johnson and former housing minister Mark Prisk. Confirming the support of the Bill, Dame Angela revealed “the draft Bill has already been welcomed by the Citizens Advice Bureau and has cross Party support”

The proposal was originally made in the Residential Landlords Associations manifesto, in a statement supporting the Bill, Chairman of the RLA, Alan Ward said ““The RLA welcomes and strongly supports Dame Angela’s Bill. This Bill sends a powerful message to criminal landlords that you can run but you cannot hide. For too long, a minority of landlords, operating under the radar, have been able to cause misery for their tenants and have been left unchecked by local authorities whose resources are too stretched. It will be more effective than a landlord register, or licensing, in identifying rented properties”

The Bill will receive its second reading on Friday the 22nd of January 2016. Whilst there was no significant debate during its first reading in June, the Bill may not be passed any time soon with a committee and report stage to follow the second reading, then a third reading before the bill reaches the House of Lords.