Please Note: This Article is 3 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

Rogue landlords can be banned from renting homes under new rules brought in by the Government’s Housing and Planning Act 2016.

New legislation also includes plans for the creation of database of criminal landlords and agents – as well as powers to impose civil penalties of up to £30,000.

The Government’s Housing and Planning Bill finally received Royal Assent last week after a prolonged period of Parliamentary ping pong.  So what happens next?

The Act applies to landlords in England. The sections affecting private renting survived largely unchanged, with the addition of two enabling amendments that will allow the introduction of electrical safety standards and checks, and a requirement to agents to hold client money protection.

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The new Act includes six measures designed to tackle rogue landlords and property agents:

  • Banning orders for most prolific offenders
  • Database of rogue landlords/property agents
  • Civil penalties of up to £30,000
  • Extension of Rent Repayment Orders
  • Tougher Fit and Proper Person test for landlords
  • Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme data sharing.

It also includes a new mechanism allowing landlords to legally recover abandoned properties without needing to go to court. So what happens next?

Banning Orders and ‘Rogues’ Database

The Government has promised an autumn consultation on what offences could result in a banning order, with draft regulations published in early 2017 and the measures coming in to force in October 2017.

The database of rogue landlords and agents will be held by DCLG and updated by local authorities.  Currently, only local authorities are proposed to have access to the register.

The RLA has raised concerns that the reputation of membership bodies for landlords and agents could be undermined if they are not be able to check if new or existing members are on the register.  Again, regulations are required to establish what information will be held on the register, with implementation expected in October 2017.

Civil Penalties, Rent Repayment Orders and Fit and Proper Person Test

The Government expects to publish guidance on these aspects of the Act in March 2017, with the measures taking force in April 2017.

Sharing Tenancy Deposit Scheme Data

Local authorities will be able to request data from tenancy deposit protection schemes to help identify private rented property and landlords, take action against rogue landlords and enforce housing standards.

Electrical Safety and Client Money Protection

The Secretary of State can now bring forward proposals to ensure property agents (i.e. letting and managing agents) that hold client money, such as rent or service charges, belong to a client money protection scheme; and require that rented properties in the PRS meet acceptable electric safety standards.  DCLG will consult on details of these proposals before regulations are published.

Abandonment

The Act includes a new statutory code enabling landlord to recover property if the assured short-hold tenant has abandoned it, without the need to serve a section 21 notice or obtain a possession order.

  • Tenant must owe more than two months’ consecutive rent and must, of course, have left the property.
  • Landlord must give at least three warning notices on the tenant and two of those must be sent to the tenant and others too, including a deposit payer.
  • The first notice can only be served if the rent is at least one month in arrears and the second notice must be served between two and four weeks after that notice, but the arrears must by then be two months.
  • The third notice must be affixed to the property like the front door- at least 5 days before the landlord repossesses.
  • Landlord must give at least eight weeks for the tenant to respond to the notices.
  • Only if none of these notices are responded to saying the property is not abandoned and/ or no rent at all is paid can the landlord repossess the property.

Extension of Mandatory HMO Licensing

Last year the Government consulted on proposals to extend the scope of mandatory licensing of HMOs.  Ministers are still considering their response, but changes to include two storey buildings, flats above shops seem likely, as well as reducing the people/households threshold.  Minimum room sizes may also be stipulated.  Any changes are expected to be implemented in October 2017.

By John Stewart, RLA Policy and Communications Manager

Please Note: This Article is 3 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

1 COMMENT

  1. We also need a register of \’Rogue Tenants\’ those that move from property to property without paying the rent. If they do it twice they should be \’black listed\’ and subject to legal proceedings for Fraud, because they are intentionally NOT paying the rent It takes weeks to evict to them, and when they \’disappear\’ they often leave the property in a mess causing a \’clean up\’ bill. In addition In Stoke -on- Trent Council tax at the full rate starts immediately, there is no \’free period\’ or even a reduction. This adds to the out of pocket costs.

    This is resulting in landlords selling up in an area that is in need of rental properties,
    as rental income is at the lower end\’ of the market – only £300 + a month – it ends up not being worthwhile.

    Therefore, it should be made easier to EVICT bad tenants., THAT IS,f they miss one month\’s rent, a warning letter is sent that if they miss the next payment as well, they will have 2 weeks to leave. No court orders should be necessary and \’Access\’ not blocked. At the moment Landlords have NO RIGHT to even enter their own properties despite giving 48 hrs notice, if the tenant is not there to let the in, and of course bad ones are never there.

    The law is to much in favour of the tenant. All landlords are not rich and do not rent properties in affluent areas where the rent received can often cover \’bad tenants\’ .

    Thank you for your attention

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