From April 2018, the Government will introduce banning orders on rogue landlords and letting agents, barring those who commit housing offences from working in the lettings industry by placing their details in a database.
The updated legislation will result in landlords and agents who are convicted of a banning order offence being prohibited from working in the lettings market, whether as a landlord, letting agent, or working as part of a property management team.
Some of the most common banning order offences are:
- Unlawful eviction and harassment of occupier
- Violence for securing entry
- Failing to comply with an improvement notice
- Offences in relation to House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing
- Fire safety and gas safety offences
- Harassment and stalking
- Theft, burglary, blackmail and handling stolen goods
It is expected that this database will only be accessible by local councils and central Government, while London’s new blacklist is open to the public.
Michael Cook, the Lettings Managing Director at Romans estate agent, says: “We are delighted to see the Government taking action on this issue. Rogue landlords and agents give the whole lettings industry a bad name and cast a negative public perception across the industry. I firmly believe that this will better protect tenants’ rights, as well the wider lettings industry.
“With more and more legislation coming into effect in the lettings industry, from taxation changes to Right to Rent checks and carbon monoxide safety, it is becoming increasingly more complicated for landlords. It’s crucial that landlords stay on top of changes in the industry, and ensure that their let is compliant and profitable.”
Cook’s comments echo recent research from the National Landlords Association (NLA), which found that more and more landlords are turning to a managing agent to look after their property on their behalf, ensuring that they meet their legal responsibilities and make a profit.
The study found that there was a 7% increase in the number of landlords using a letting agent from the end of 2016 to June 2017, and that, annually, the proportion of landlords who self-manage their properties has dropped by almost 10%.
However, we may see a decline in the number of landlords using an agent when the Government’s proposed ban on agents charging upfront fees to tenants comes into force.