Are DBS checks reasonable for landlord licensing?

by Readers Question

9:24 AM, 16th September 2018
About 11 months ago

Are DBS checks reasonable for landlord licensing?

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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

Larry Sweeney

7:50 AM, 19th September 2018
About 11 months ago

What about the Council Honchos, most are not DBS checked
A former rapist could be working for the council inspecting a property, so folks do what I do. Insert a clause stating that you gurantee your tenant for his /her protection .that you will ensure that anyone who enters the property to inspect or survey it must produce a True copy (councils always use that terminology) of their DBS to both the landlord and tenant. Remember the HA 2004 states that selective licencing cannot alter nor must not try to alter the terms of occupancy. Therefore the Honchos will not be able to enter to inspect themselves without being DBS checked.

Chris Daniel

21:58 PM, 19th September 2018
About 11 months ago

Leave the merits or supporting evidence that a Landlord is a fit and proper person to one side,
the ' Selective ' (no pun intended ) nature of this for PRS Landlords only is Discrimination and therefore a breach of their rights - and I think worthy of further legal advice ? If we won, surely the offending L.A's would have to pay our costs.

Michael Barnes

22:46 PM, 19th September 2018
About 11 months ago

What is this "any applicable code of practice approved under section 233 of the Housing Act 2004."

Mick Roberts

6:08 AM, 20th September 2018
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 17/09/2018 - 15:21
I din't notice that. But I've finished all mine & know they have put some more things in.

Old Mrs Landlord

7:20 AM, 20th September 2018
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Daniel at 19/09/2018 - 21:58The provision to selectivelly license is a government measure enshrined in the 2004 Housing Act Chris, so cannot be challenged in the way you describe. Misuse of it by individual local authorities is another matter, but I would judge action under Human Rights legislation to be a non-starter.

Martin Thomas

12:20 PM, 20th September 2018
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 17/09/2018 - 11:42
Hello Rob - yes, you have to attach the certificate to your online application. The council has confirmed it is their decision, not a statutory requirement. I say it's an invasion of my privacy (although I've nothing to hide) and contrary to my human rights. My question really is - if we decline to submit the DBS certificate, can the Council prosecute us?

Michael Barnes

14:39 PM, 20th September 2018
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Thomas at 20/09/2018 - 12:20
My question really is - if we decline to submit the DBS certificate, can the Council prosecute us?

Not for not submitting, but they might refuse a licence and then prosecute for not having a licence.

H B

18:53 PM, 23rd September 2018
About 11 months ago

What would happen to a landlord like Fergus Wilson with a recent conviction for assault and a finding against him for racial discrimination? Would this mean that he would have to evict hundreds of otherwise happy tenants?

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