17/04/2018

The database of rogue landlords launched on 6th April, and any landlord or agent that is found guilty of one or more of a number of offences, including some that have been newly introduced, will be added to the database. They could also receive banning orders that prevent them from letting property for a period of between 12 months and life. Ignoring the ban can lead to a prison term of up to 6 months and an unlimited fine.

Currently, the database will only be shared between local councils, but there have been calls for it to be made public, allowing agents and potential tenants to check that landlords have not previously been charged with offences such as letting sub-standard properties, failing to comply with gas and other health and safety requirements, or letting property to those that do not have the right to rent in the UK.

The primary goal of the rogue landlord database is to ensure tenant safety. As of April 6 2018, landlords that are found to have rented out substandard or dangerous properties face banning orders, preventing them from legally renting property to tenants in the future.

Leasing overcrowded properties or offences that contravene gas and fire safety rules will see landlords taken to court and faced with fines, as well as the more stringent banning orders. Landlords that receive a banning order will also be placed on the rogue agent database, which will be shared with local councils and housing agencies.

What Is A Banning Order?

A banning order is exactly that; it prevents landlords from being able to take specific actions; primarily, this means that rogue landlords will be banned from letting properties for a minimum period of time. In most cases, a banning order will run for a minimum of 12 months, although longer orders could be handed down to serious offenders, and in cases where negligence has led to injury or illness of tenants.

If a landlord continues to rent property, or otherwise fails to meet any terms of the banning order, they face further punishment. This can include fines and may also lead to a prison sentence.

Types Of Offence Covered By The New Rules

The banning orders can be given for a host of offences. This includes a failure to meet safety standards, and some criminal offences are also covered under the orders.

  • Fire and gas safety checks must be completed, and the landlord has a legal responsibility to ensure that their property and any equipment within it are considered safe for use.
  • Fraudulent activity may also lead to a ban. This can include misrepresenting the number of tenants or terms of a tenancy. It can also include instances where the landlord fraudulently claims to have the right to let property out, or if they are found to have fraudulently completed safety checks.
  • The Health and Safety Executive, through its various agents and representatives, can give landlords and agents improvement notices. These clearly set out any changes that need to be made in order for a property to be brought up to required standards. The landlord must meet the terms of these notices.
  • HMO regulations must be adhered to. HMO regulations have been changed in recent years, and an HMO landlord must meet size and space requirements, as well as health and safety requirements.
  • Some criminal offences can lead to a banning order and may obviously also lead to the landlord facing criminal prosecution for the crime itself. Violent or sexual offences against the tenant or their guests are included in this list.

The Rogue Agent Database

Any landlord that is found guilty of failing to meet the required standards faces a banning order, and once an agent receives a banning order, they will also be placed on the rogue agent database.

The aim of the rogue agent database is to make it easy for local councils to share pertinent information across agencies and councils. Landlords are placed on the database for a minimum of two years, while repeat and serious offenders may be placed on the database for longer periods.

Landlords are given written notice that they will be placed on the list, and there is a right to appeal any decision.

Even if a landlord is not given a banning order, they may be placed on the database in order that local councils can monitor the activities of the landlord.

Minister For Housing And Homelessness, Heather Wheeler

On the launch of the database, the 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 number of landlords that are renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation.”

Chief Executive Of ARLA Propertymark, David Cox

While the banning orders and database have been widely praised, there are some critics of the scheme. In particular, critics have said that the database will do little to protect tenants because it won’t be made public. Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark, David Cox, said “When this legislation was first announced, we were wildly supportive – anything which will help eradicate bad letting agents and landlords has our full support” before going on to say, “the outcome is disappointing. The database won’t be public, which means no one will be able to see it and therefore letting agents and landlords who are on the list can continue operating with impunity.”

There is an equivalent list for rogue estate agents, which is a publicly available list. There have been calls for the rogue agent database to be made public in the same way.

PDF Estates – Protecting Our Landlords And Tenants

Any move that prevents unscrupulous landlords from being able to buy and lease properties is a positive move, and at PDF Estates Ltd we welcome the introduction of the banning orders and rogue agent database. However, like ARLA, we believe that the list should be made public. Naming and shaming rogue landlords will not only act as further deterrent but will enable tenants, housing agencies, and local councils to better monitor the situation and ensure the safety of tenants.

At PDF Estates Ltd we are extremely proud of our track record. We not only meet required standards but go above and beyond our required duty to ensure that every tenant is safe in their own home. Whether you are a landlord, looking for a management agency that will manage your reputation as well as your property, or a tenant looking for safe, secure, and comfortable housing, call us today on 020 3815 7952 to see how we can help you.