Now what does the government have in store for landlords
Housing & Planning Act 2016
With so many changes going on, it can be difficult to keep abreast of all the recent changes. One that you need to be aware of is the Housing & Planning Act 2016, as you do not want to be accidentally labelled as a ‘rogue’ landlords or letting agent.
It is worth noting that enforcement of the act is stepped into stages. Those that are already live carry extremely tough penalties.
Currently not in force but it is only a matter of time. If you obtain a banning order then your business will be closed down.
Banning orders will be made against both landlords and letting agents. Some of the potential actions that could cause you to be banned include:
- Illegal eviction offences
- Breach of improvement orders
- Failure to obtain an HMO license (where this is required)
- Breach of the HMO management regulations
- Convictions under the Immigration Acts regarding the right to rent rules
- Serious criminal offences such as fraud, possession or supply of drugs; and
- Specified violent or sexual offences – where carried out against occupiers of rented property
At present there appears to be no set date for their introduction.
Rent Repayment Orders
This is something that you are probably aware of as this is now live, although previously only when you fail to obtain an HMO license. However, they can now also be made
- Where a landlord has used violence for securing entry under the Criminal Law Act 1977
- For eviction or harassment of occupiers under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977
- For failure to obtain an HMO license,
- Failure to comply with an improvement order, and
- (When they come into force) breach of a banning order
Hence why I keep reminding landlords and letting agents to ensure correct tenant eviction procedures are followed, not only can it extend the time take to remove a tenant you could end up repaying rent, potentially up to 12 months. Imagine having the cost of evicting a tenant and then having to pay back a year’s rent.
Rogue Landlord Database
This is not currently live but is intended to be a list of landlords and agents who have breached the legislation, to help Local Authority Enforcement Officers with their enforcement work. In theory this should reduce the constant stick bashing of law abiding landlords and agents.
Local Authorities can now impose Civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for the following:
- Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice
- Offences in relation to licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation
- Offences in relation to licensing of houses under Part 3 of the Act
- Offences of contravention of an overcrowding notice
- Failure to comply with management regulations in respect of Houses in Multiple Occupation
It is worth noting that the penalty can be up to £30,000 PER OFFENCE.
The reasoning behind the Civil Penalties for Local Authorities is that they will be able to keep the money to fund further enforcement work.
Although aimed at ‘rogue landlords’ it could be quite easy to fall foul of this act and therefore have a huge financial impact on you.
I would recommend implanting some system that ensures you deal with any issues asap rather than later. If you are unsure we have a team of people that can give you support and guidance.