The proposed database of rogue landlords and letting agents is expected to be launched in April 2018. It is another step in the government’s pledge to root out rogue landlords. The database is expected to come into effect after the regulations are approved in the New Year. It was initially announced as part of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, but it has yet to be implemented.
The database will include information on landlords who have been served with a banning order or convicted of a banning order offence, which prevents them from either letting or managing a property. The Department of Communities and Local Government has issued details of the offences which could lead to a landlord receiving a banning order.
- Illegally evicting or harassing an occupier in contravention of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977
- Using violence to gain entry under the Criminal Law Act 1977
- Failing to comply with an Improvement Notice
- Failing to comply with a Prohibition Order
- Offences in relation to Houses in Multiple Occupation licensing
- Offences relating to licensing of houses under Part 3 of Housing Act 2004
- Contravening an overcrowding notice
- Failing to comply with management regulations regarding HMOs
- Providing false or misleading information
If a landlord or agent is subject to a banning order, they could be prevented from letting or managing a property indefinitely. The banning orders will protect tenants, and target the small number of rogue landlords and agents. It will also help local authorities in their fight to take action against poor landlords who are letting unsafe or substandard properties. They will either be forced out of the buy-to-let sector or they will have to improve the standard of their accommodation. The minimum ban will last 12 months, while there is no upper limit on how long they could remain on the register.
It is not known whether this register will be made public, but London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, would like a public database of rogue agents and landlords to be launched. In his draft housing strategy, the Mayor asked the government for new powers, so he can introduce licensing schemes for landlords across the capital. He also outlined plans for the publicly-available database and a new tenancy deposit loan schemes which employers can offer their staff. The housing strategy points out that property licensing is inconsistent in London, as each council applies its own schemes and conditions. The Mayor has called on the government to give responsibility to City Hall, so it can be more consistent and so that more effective scrutiny can take place.
Although the moves are aimed at the rogue landlords who operate outside the law, it shows the importance for all landlords to be vigilant in their dealings with tenants, local authorities and other bodies. Ensuring all paperwork is correctly delivered, contracts are watertight and safety certificates are up-to-date is imperative. Then landlords have proof if an inspection takes place or a tenant makes a complaint against them.
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