Government consults on sanctions

19 December 2016

Proposals to ban landlords and property agents who commit serious offences against tenants are being proposed by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

A consultation open until 10 February 2017 asks if a failure to carry out health and safety works, including fire safety duties, should be grounds to issue a banning order.

The consultation includes case studies based on actual instances of premises which had no fire protection, precautions or working detection systems. The DCLG proposes that a local authority may, in future, wish to consider seeking a banning order following a conviction.

Launching the consultation, 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.”

He continued: “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 intention is that 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 rented accommodation 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 two 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.

Click here to read and to respond to the consultation.