New boost to rogue landlord crackdown

Rogue landlords face being forced out of the sector as new banning orders are brought in and a national database of offenders goes live

photo of a house with a

Rogue landlords who rent out substandard properties face being forced out of the sector as new banning orders are brought in and a national database of offenders goes live today (6 April 2018).

Landlords convicted of a range of housing, immigration and other criminal offences such as leasing overcrowded properties, fire and gas safety offences and unlawful eviction, will be put on the new database, so councils can share information between themselves and keep a closer eye on those with a poor track record.

The private rented sector houses 4.7 million households in England and the government is delivering these reforms under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 so everyone has a safe and decent place to live.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Heather Wheeler said:

"I am committed to making sure people who are renting are living in safe and good quality properties. That’s why we’re cracking down on the small minority of landlords that are renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation.

"Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences."

The database will be available to use by councils to crackdown on poor and unfair practice in the private rented sector such as overcrowded, squalid or dangerous accommodation, and to help target their enforcement action.

Landlords convicted of offences under the government’s new law may also be given banning orders preventing them from leasing accommodation for a period of time, ranging from 12 months to life. Councils must record details of any landlord or property agent who has received a banning order on the database. Landlords that ignore a banning order will face criminal sanctions including up to 6 months imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

The department will be able to use the database to publish regular updates on the number of landlords and agents who have been banned, convicted of a banning order offence or received two or more civil penalties, broken down by local authority area.

These measures follow the announcement that councils are also being given tough new powers to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords who rent out overcrowded properties and impose fines of up to £30,000 for those landlords who do not comply. Overcrowded and poor quality housing can result in excess noise, increased demand on local services such as waste collection and anti-social behaviour generally, which is why the government is determined to crack down on it.

Public safety is paramount which is why this government will support further measures proposed by Karen Buck MP in a Private Member’s Bill to protect tenants in both the social and private rented sectors. This forms part of the government’s plan to ensure a safer and stronger housing market that works for everyone.

Further information

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced a range of measures to tackle rogue landlords:

• civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution – came into force April 2017
• extension of Rent Repayment Orders to cover illegal eviction and/ or failure to comply with a statutory notice – came into force in April 2017. Rent Repayment Orders will also cover breach of a banning order from 6 April 2018.

Government has worked with Karen Buck MP to draft and publish the Private Member’s Bill on Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability of Housing Standards).

The following guidance for local housing authorities has been published:

the database of rogue landlords and property agents
banning orders
civil penalties
rent repayment orders