So what are Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs)? Kate describes them as a ‘little holy grail’ in the property market that no-one realised existed.
Every property has a UPRN which is unique to that property and which can be used to identify information about that property. Just like car number plates.
The idea of using UPRN’s came from a working group of the Lettings Industry Council – which has representatives from all over the rental sector. They came up with the conclusion that you need to have some way to regulate properties. Like a car MOT. Which would list all the things you need so everyone – tenants, agents and landlords can know that a property is legal and safe from the day it is marketed.
The UPRN’s provide a property recognition which will link together all of the documents and certification you need to let a property legally and safely. The ideal is for it to be impossible to let a property until all these requirements are in place. The UPRN allows (or will do once the techies have worked their magic) this to happen.
We can do this as UPRNs are now open source and free for owners or landlords to use (although some commercial operations will need a licence which they have to pay for).
Imagine a time when all the property portals will have a link to the property MOT and when they will not be allowed to list a property at all if it is non-compliant. And if properties can’t be listed if they are non-compliant – this gives landlords a real incentive to ensure that their properties are compliant and safe.
It could be just what is needed to bring the private rented sector in from the ‘wild west’ and give confidence in the industry.
- But can it replace the unpopular local authority licensing system?
- Will it allow regulators to easily locate non-compliant properties?
- Will it finally allow us to reward the good guys instead of penalising them?
Listen to the podcast to find out …