Rotherham Council is set to start using banning orders in a bid to crack down on the town’s rogue landlords.
Those guilty of unlawful eviction, harassment, overcrowding and fire or gas safety offences would then find themselves banned from renting out properties with a custodial sentence of up to 51 weeks, an unlimited fine, or both, if they ignore the order.
A council report says Rotherham has seen an increase in unregulated and/or unaccredited agents and landlords advertising rented properties through social media, without any appropriate letting background.
It adds: “A number of landlords have now, as a result of selective licensing, been found to be in breach of relevant legislation.
“This policy will offer the council the means to take action against landlords and agents who have been convicted of certain offences, and who routinely offer poor housing, often to the poorest and most vulnerable in society.”
The authority believes there is a clear public interest in managing landlords who commit serious offences effectively, both to protect their tenants and the wider community.
It explains: “Strategic housing within adult care, housing and public health have noted that the potential to use banning orders are a necessary tool to improve the private rented sector and protect tenants.”
In 2020, the council extended – and expanded – its selective licensing scheme, despite protests that it would be an unnecessary financial burden on landlords.
Those with properties in the Eastwood/Town Centre, Masbrough, Maltby South East, Dinnington, Thurcroft and Parkgate areas have to stump up £521 for a licence.
Banning orders are set to be approved at the council’s next cabinet meeting on 25th April.