Are DBS checks reasonable for landlord licensing?

by Readers Question

9:24 AM, 16th September 2018
About 3 days ago

Are DBS checks reasonable for landlord licensing?

Make Text Bigger
Are DBS checks reasonable for landlord licensing?

Bath and NE Somerset Council have introduced a basic DBS check as part of its new licensing requirements. It also has a Fit and Proper Person form that must be completed by the proposed licence holder.

If you lie when signing the declaration the Council says it can prosecute you – fair enough.

The declaration for the F&PP form states;

  1. “Do not have any unspent convictions particularly in respect of any offence involving fraud or other dishonesty, or violence or drugs, or any offence listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (offences attracting notification requirements);
  2. Have not been found guilty by any court or tribunal of practising unlawful discrimination on grounds of sex, colour, race ethnic or national origins or disability in, or in connection with, the carrying on of any business:
  3. Have not had any judgements (whether civil or criminal) against me under housing, environmental health, public health or landlord and tenant law;
  4. Have not acted otherwise than in accordance with any applicable code of practice approved under section 233 of the Housing Act 2004.

“And to the best of my knowledge (i) to (iv) above do not apply to anyone who is associated with me whether on a personal, work or other basis (includes husband, wife, colleague, business partner and employees).”

As I see it, having signed to say you don’t have ANY unspent convictions, the DBS check becomes irrelevant. What is more, it is a time consuming process.

Furthermore, it is absurd to expect a landlord to know if cleaners, plumbers or electricians have unspent convictions, rendering that part of the declaration meaningless.

Clearly, the Council doesn’t trust landlords, but do they apply the same standards to other agencies, such as the local housing association, the university accommodation office of the staff of Unite?

This requirement seems too onerous to me and contravenes my human rights in that the Council blatantly doesn’t trust any private landlords.

Where do we stand on this do you think?

Martin



Comments

Annie Landlord

7:41 AM, 17th September 2018
About 3 days ago

I have always thought that landlords should be DBS checked and should go through a fit and proper person test. There is the question of how to apply for the DBS, as I recall individuals can't apply, it has to be through an umbrella body. There is also a cost - £26 for a standard check. We need some foolproof way of registering ALL landlords and applying the fit and proper person test to all. Instead of the crazy licensing systems operated by councils simply to make money, maybe councils should charge every landlord £50 to be DBS checked and included in a register.

Mark Alexander

9:50 AM, 17th September 2018
About 2 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 17/09/2018 - 07:41
It is possible for a person so do a DBS check on themselves. I had to do it when I moved to Malta. In order to open a bank account I had to prove that I didn't have any UK convistions. See below.

https://crbdirect.org.uk/

terry sullivan

10:27 AM, 17th September 2018
About 2 days ago

i do not believe councils have this power

terry sullivan

10:27 AM, 17th September 2018
About 2 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 17/09/2018 - 07:41
why?

Larry Sweeney

11:20 AM, 17th September 2018
About 2 days ago

Mark is correct, individuals can do it themselves. I reccomend Disclosure Scotland. Councils must be cateful how they word the demand or they could be commiting a criminal offence.

Rob Crawford

11:42 AM, 17th September 2018
About 2 days ago

I understand in the case of Bath Council that their DBS process is an integral part of their online licence application process (is that correct Martin?). As such you pay the fee to a DBS checking body that has been selected by the Council. This online application process is now very onerous for the landlord and now only requires the authority to check the application for positive answers (probably automated!). It begs the question as to why a landlord has to pay an initial application fee of £500.

Mick Roberts

15:06 PM, 17th September 2018
About 2 days ago

The DBS check was a nightmare, & eventually I had to visit a Post Office to get visually ID checked & I han't had to go in a Post office for 20 years, always having someone else do the banking.
Nottingham Council took legal advise on INSISTING we do DBS checks & after we'd all done them, they said It's now voluntary, they can't insist on requiring. BUT, they have said, the more the Landlord sends in, the less chance their houses may have of being inspected.
The associated mates/people/colleagues criminals question is absurd. Here is what I answered:
Please answer the questions below in relation to unspent convictions. There are two parts to this; one in relation to the licence holder and next anybody that the licence holder is ‘associated’ with. In short, this is anybody that the licence holder knows, friends, family and business relations etc.
Does any associate of the proposed licence holder named above have any unspent convictions in respect of any offence involving fraud or other dishonesty, or violence or drugs or any offence listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003?
Are you nuts? Anybody that I know? Well yes, some of my tenants have been locked up for murder.
Some of my mates I han’t got a clue what naughty misdemeanours they’ve done in the past 40 years. I thought you’d tested this form? ONCE AGAIN YOU’VE NOT ASKED PEOPLE THAT MATTER.

Monty Bodkin

15:21 PM, 17th September 2018
About 2 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 17/09/2018 - 15:06
Did you notice this on the Nottingham application?

"The Council may undertake further financial checks (i.e. through credit reference agencies) where there are concerns about finances"

Annie Landlord

9:16 AM, 18th September 2018
About A day ago

Ah, my experience with DBS checks is in the children's services/child protection field, where the enhanced check has to be done through an umbrella body. Standard checks must be different. Thanks for the heads up.
A mandatory DBS and F&PPT would identify people with criminal convictions, but who gets to decide which type of criminality renders someone unfit to be a landlord?

Gary Dully

17:30 PM, 18th September 2018
About A day ago

Cheshire East Council are now insisting on a basic DBS check also.
Apparently I'm on the run for licking my wife's ice cream choc-ice, in Blackpool, in 1983.

I never knew I was an arch criminal and being chased by Interpol. though.

My application may now be rejected.... we shall see.

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

BoE base rate has trebled within a year but ...

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More