Our journalism needs your support! Become a member
The Bristol Cable

Cable reporting inspires action on rogue landlord database

A win for transparency, as motion to address the city’s private renting crisis passes, with the Cable acknowledged as a key contributor to the process.

A copy of the Bristol Cable on a yellow background with a front cover about rent controls. A blue silhouette holds a placard that reads "no rent increase".
In Disrepair: Bristol's broken renting system

Bristol councillors have today passed a joint Labour-Green motion aimed at levelling the playing field in the private rented sector. 

As well as resolving to ask the government for new powers to introduce rent controls, which is likely to be the recommendation of the city’s Living Rent Commission, the council has now formally committed to a raft of other measures to tackle the “increased power imbalance between tenants and landlords”.

We’re pleased to be able to say that the Cable has played a role in this process. One of the motion’s recommendations is to introduce a public database of enforcement notices given to landlords who break the rules, if the government doesn’t bring in a national landlord register. 

It was a year ago that we reported on London’s Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker and asked if it could make a difference in Bristol’s rental market. A database would mean greater transparency when landlords have been prosecuted for breaking the law, allowing tenants to see if their current or prospective landlord has been up to no good.

Green councillor Tom Hathway, who brought the motion with council housing chief Tom Renhard, acknowledged our reporting had inspired thought around whether London’s landlord checker could work in Bristol. 

“The Cable highlighted the success of a rogue landlord database in London, and actions in the motion now include reviewing enforcement policy and maintaining a public database of enforcement against rogue landlords in Bristol if the government’s proposed landlord portal doesn’t materialise.”

Also included in the motion were proposals aimed at addressing a number of high-profile issues facing renters, such as affordability, living conditions and law-breaking by landlords. Examples are a data-driven ‘living rent index’ that would show what affordable pricing for rentals should look like, a crackdown on criminal letting agents who do not observe the agency fees ban, and efforts to end the phenomenon of ‘bidding wars’ on rental properties.

The motion is a significant step in the right direction for addressing Bristol’s housing crisis, a long-standing problem which has grown sharply during the pandemic and the cost of living crisis. 

The Cable has been reporting on the city’s housing crisis since our first edition, and in 2022 it was our second most reported topic. You can find all our reporting on housing here.

The Cable is able to make this kind of impact for Bristolians, by dedicating time to local investigative journalism and exploring solutions to our biggest issues, because of the support of our members.

We are different: a small team of local journalists committed to public interest news and community building, with a business model that doesn’t rely on clickbait, pop ups, or selling your private data.

The Cable creates journalism worth supporting. Become a member today.

Independent. Investigative. Indispensable.

The Cable is Bristol’s independent, investigative newsroom. Owned and led by 2,500 members, we produce award-winning journalism that digs deep into what’s happening in Bristol. Investigative journalism strengthens democracy – it’s a necessity, not a luxury.

As a democratic members co-op, democracy is built into everything we do. We’re 100% owned by thousands of Bristol members.

If we can triple our membership, this funding from the people of Bristol would make the Cable completely sustainable.

Join the Cable today


Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

Community union’s intervention sees housing association eviction halted amid disrepair claims

Rent arrears proceedings by local social landlord that would have seen Cliftonwood man lose his flat are 'off the table for now', ACORN says

Council to launch ‘overdue’ consultation on expanding landlord licensing

Bristol City Council wants to significantly expand landlord licensing in a bid to drive up standards for renters. But do the plans go far enough?

Revealed: Renters living in mouldy flats handed steep rent hike by millionaire London landlords

Residents of the iconic Queens Court housing block in Clifton are fed up with living in poor conditions and their complaints being ignored, a Cable investigation has uncovered.

‘My anxiety levels are off the scale’: Tempers fray as student houses multiply on estate

As residents and students clash on High Kingsdown estate, Bristol City Council is being urged to enforce its own targets and lower the number of HMOs in the area. 

Rogue landlord yacht owner turns to Airbnb after fleecing tenants’ of their deposits

Thomas Flight, whose Miss Conduct yacht sits in Bristol Harbour, has been convicted of a series of offences against his previous tenants but his properties are now on the short-term let market.

Bristol City Council investigates notorious property boss for potential breach of legal order

In 2022, landlord Mushtaq Ahmed was fined £3,000 and given 150 days to clean up three dilapidated buildings in Bristol – but there’s been little sign of improvement since.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning