The government has released a range of new measures and guidance for local authorities that aim to tackle rogue landlords and letting agents in the private rental sector. The new measures come as part of the government’s wider crackdown on substandard practice by landlords and letting agents, including a new database of rogue landlords and letting agents coming into force.
Subsequently, local authorities have also been provided with a wider range of guidelines and powers on banning orders, civil penalties and rent repayment orders.
The key guidelines and powers being introduced are as follows:
Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents
Landlords who are found to be renting out substandard properties will now face tougher consequences, with the introduction of a national database of rogue landlords and letting agents.
The new database will include landlords and letting agents convicted of a range of housing and immigration offences, alongside other measures including:
- Unlawful eviction
- Breach of gas & fire safety measures
- Leasing overcrowded properties
Local councils will also be able to share information concerning rogue landlords and the specific offences committed, allowing local authorities to keep track off or take further action with those who have a poor track record.
Banning orders for landlords and property agents
Working in tandem with the new rogue landlord database, the banning order for rogue landlords and property agents under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 has provided local authorities with new powers to seek banning orders where the landlord or property agent has flouted their legal obligations or rented out substandard accommodation.
The updated guidance released aims to act as a comprehensive guide for local authorities when enforcing these powers.
Civil Penalties under the Housing and Planning Act
The government has also published updated guidance on civil penalties, which aims to help local authorities use their powers on imposing civil penalties as an alternative to prosecution.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 gives local authorities powers to impose a civil penalty of up to £30,000 for a range of offences under the Housing and Planning Act 2004.
The updated guidance released today aims to reflect a civil penalty can be imposed for a breach of a banning order under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
Rent Repayment Orders under the Housing and Planning Act
This extended guidance aims to help local authorities in using their powers to seek a rent repayment order against private sector landlords. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 extended rent repayment orders to cover illegal evictions and breaches of banning orders as well as a range of other offences.
Commenting on the new measures and published guidance, Heather Wheeler, minister for Housing and Homelessness, said: “I am committed to making sure people who are renting are living in safe and good quality properties. That’s why we’re cracking down on the small minority of landlords that are renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation.
“Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.”