Plans for new banning orders to crack down on rogue landlords and property agents and stop them operating have been set out by government today.
The banning orders would be put in place when rogue landlords commit serious offences against tenants. This could include failing to carry out work required by the council to prevent a health and safety risk to tenants, threatening tenants with violence, or illegally evicting them.
If a landlord or property agent is subject to a banning order they could be prevented from letting or managing a property indefinitely. Their name would also be included in a national database of rogue landlords and property agents.
Government is seeking views on which offences committed by rogue landlords or property agents should constitute a ‘banning order’ offence in a consultation launched today.
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said:
Banning orders will allow us to drive out the worst offenders and help make sure millions of hard-working private tenants across the country are protected from exploitation.
While the vast majority of landlords are responsible we are determined to tackle the minority who abuse and exploit vulnerable people.
As part of the government’s commitment to improving standards within the private rented sector, banning orders will protect tenants and target the small minority of poor landlords and property agents. They will also help local authorities to take robust and effective action against rogues who knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation.
The banning orders will force the most serious and prolific offenders to either drastically improve the standard of the accommodation they rent out, or to leave the sector entirely, with a minimum ban lasting 12 months and no upper limit for a maximum ban.
Those subject to banning orders will also not be able to earn income from renting out housing or engaging in letting agency or property management work.
Landlords could also find that their property could be made the subject of a management order by the local authority, which allows the council to rent out the property instead.
Banning orders are part of a range of measures introduced in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to tackle rogue landlords, including:
- a database of rogue landlords and property agents who have been convicted of banning order offences or received 2 or more civil penalties
- extension of Rent Repayment Orders to cover illegal eviction, breach of a banning order or failure to comply with a statutory notice
- civil penalties up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for offences under the Housing Act 2004.
Proposed banning order offences as outlined in the consultation include:
- illegally evicting a tenant
- renting out a property decided to be unsafe as a dwelling by local authorities
- failing to carry out works required by local authorities to prevent health and safety risk to tenants
- renting out a property to an illegal migrant
- using violence, or threatening violence against a tenant
- making fraudulent applications for housing benefit, or committing identity theft
- using the property to cultivate cannabis
- theft or criminal damage
- colluding with the tenant to commit a criminal offence, such as tax evasion or the supply of illegal drugs.
Where someone has been convicted of a banning order offence, the local authority can apply to a first-tier tribunal for an order banning that landlord or property agent from being involved in the letting and/or management of property.
The definition of a banning order offence will not be retrospective and will only relate to offences that are committed after the regulations have come into force.