New banning orders, which could see landlords barred from letting or managing a property indefinitely, will be introduced in April 6 next year it has been announced.
The Government said the move will go ahead subject to the regulations being approved by each House of Parliament, with debates expected to take place early in the New Year.
Plans to introduce banning orders were announced as part of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to root out criminal landlords. A new database of criminal landlords and agents will also be created under the Act and will go live the same day.
Held by DCLG and updated by local authorities, landlords who receive banning orders will automatically be listed on the register.
The DCLG has now released details of the serious offences that will merit a banning order.
- Illegally evicting or harassing a residential occupier in contravention of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977
- Using violence to secure entry under the Criminal Law Act 1977
Any of the following offences under the Housing Act 2004:
- Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice (section 30);
- Failure to comply with a prohibition order (section 32)
- Offences in relation to licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) (section 72);
- Offences in relation to licensing of houses under Part 3 of the Act (section 95);
- Contravention of an overcrowding notice (Section 139)
- Failure to comply with management regulations in respect of HMOs (section 234).
- Providing false or misleading information (section 238)
- An offence under section 36 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998;
- An offence under section 32 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
Letting to someone disqualified from renting because of their immigration status, whether as a landlord or agent.
Serious criminal offences
Any offence listed in any of items 7 to 14 of the Schedule if:
- (the offence was committed against or in collusion with a tenant occupying any housing (or another person occupying that housing with the tenant) or the offence was committed at or in relation to that housing;
- (at the time the offence was committed, the offender was the residential landlord or property agent of that housing or an officer of a body corporate who was the residential landlord or property agent of that housing; and
- the offender was sentenced for the offence in the Crown Court.
The offences listed in the schedule include:
- a range of fraud offences under the Fraud Act 2006
- any specified violent and sexual offence under Schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003
- Offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act
- Concealing criminal property and related offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
- Harassment and stalking under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997
- Offences under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
- Offences of criminal damage under the Criminal Damage Act 1971
- Theft, burglary, blackmail and handing stolen goods under the Theft Act 1968.
For further details click here.
The government has already introduced civil penalties of up to £30,000 and extended rent repayment orders in a bid to tackle criminal landlords – moves also introduce under the Housing and Planning Act.
The RLA welcomed the principle of banning orders and the database of criminal landlords when they were announced and has long argued that those landlords who wilfully breach their legal obligations should face the consequences.
However, the association believes those landlords who find themselves subject to an order or included on the ‘rogue’ landlord database through a mistake that was unintentional, should have a formal route to be released from an order and from being listed on the database where appropriate.
Currently, only local authorities are proposed to have access to the rogue landlord register, and the RLA has also raised concerns the reputation of membership bodies for landlords and agents could be undermined if they are not able to check if new or existing members are on there.
The association submitted a response to a Government consultation on the plans stressing there must be a commitment from local authorities when it comes to enforcement.
The Government’s response to this consultation has not yet been published, but is expected imminently. Keep an eye on the RLA news pages for updates.
Guidance for local authorities on their new enforcement powers is also yet to be published.