Councils are calling for a widening of the conditions under which tenants can claim rent repayment orders (RROs) as part of the Renters (Reform) Bill.
The Local Government Association (LGA) is concerned about their ability to enforce compliance of the ban on landlords re-letting or re-marketing their property for three months after using ‘no-fault’ eviction grounds, which it says is wholly reliant on former tenants noticing that the property is back on the market after they have been evicted. It also wants the three-month ban extended to six months.
The association believes councils and tenants should be able to seek RROs from landlords who don’t comply with the new landlord register, property portal, or mis-use grounds for eviction.
While it agrees with government that the ‘prohibited period’ will be a helpful mechanism to prevent the eviction grounds from becoming Section 21 by the backdoor, the LGA explains that these orders would act as an additional deterrent for non-compliance. “They would also incentivise tenants to understand their rights and report non-compliance, which would strengthen councils’ enforcement work and reduce the burden on local authorities.”
It also wants the government to expand their use when landlords let out a property that fails to meet minimum energy efficiency standards.
The LGA is calling for a full assessment of the resources that councils need to regulate the PRS effectively. It explains: “There will be new pressures on local authorities following the introduction of the database including monitoring compliance with the duty to register; enforcing against those that are not registered and reporting compliance.
“We welcome the provisions in the Bill that enable local authorities to keep the proceeds of financial penalties to reinvest in enforcement activity. However, this funding alone will likely be insufficient to cover the full cost of undertaking enforcement work in the PRS.”