The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published its full report on the results of its consultation: Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector.
Over 600 responses were presented from all sections of the rental property industry, local government and professional associations.
The discussion document was launched back in August setting out a series of questions aimed at judging the responses to various options proposed for tackling the worst landlord and agent offenders in the property lettings industry.
Questions included measures to tackle rogue landlords and methods to deal with the problem of abandonment of rental properties, something landlords, under the current legal system of protection from evict, have struggles with for some time.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) responded in the way – see their response here
ARLA’s summary of the Key findings:
- 84% of respondents said that they thought data held by Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes should be made available to local authorities. Making it easier to identify the size and location of rented property in their area making it easier to plan ahead for the types of services that residents are likely to need in the future. and make it easier to identify rogue landlords.
- 92% agreed there should be a blacklist of persistent rogue landlords and letting agents. The database would only be accessible by local housing authorities and central Government.
- 82% said that additional criteria should be added to the ‘fit and proper person test’ for licensable properties such as HMOs. This adds to the criteria already introduced with the Housing Act 2004 with the aim of it being a more stringent test.
- 85% thought that Rent Repayment Orders should be introduced for situations where a tenant has been illegally evicted. Again this extends the criteria already put in place as part of the Housing Act 2004.
- 51% of respondents said that they thought that a proposed new process for dealing with abandoned properties (where a tenant simply disappears) would be effective. The proposals follow a six-stage process as detailed in the consultation document and include the landlord having to give the tenant a written warning notice stating that the property is believed to be abandoned. The tenant would then have four weeks to respond to the contrary.
Some of these measures from early discussions have actually been included proposed in the forthcoming Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16 which has now passed its second reading in Parliament.
ARLA’s MD, David Cox attended the Public Bill Committee last week to give further evidence on behalf of our members, where he said of ‘banning orders’:
“Sales Agents can already be banned under the Estate Agent Act 1979, but it’s about time that the lettings sector followed suit. The easiest solution would be to add a section to the Housing and Planning Bill which follows a similar structure as that already provided for estate agents in the 1979 Act.
“However, it’s important that the banning order is placed on individual agents, not on a company or agency, and if banned as an estate agent you should be banned as a letting agent too and visa versa”
Read the Full Report – Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector
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