New Government proposals could mean an end to shoddy and poorly maintained rental properties.
The Housing and Planning Bill, currently passing through Parliament proposes that unscrupulous landlords could be banned from letting properties, and their names added to a nationwide database shared across all local housing authorities.
Not only would landlords be added to a database of people who aren’t allowed to let properties, there would be a £5,000 fine for breaching a banning order.
Offences that could lead to a landlord being banned may include harassing or attempts to evict occupants, failing to comply with improvement notices and prohibition orders, failure to control and manage an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and using violence to gain entry.
Banning orders would last a minimum of six months depending on the offence. If a landlord had multiple properties they would be banned from letting out any of them for the duration of the banning order.
To really drive home the crackdown on rogue landlords, the bill also proposes rent repayment orders. This would mean that landlords would have to pay back rent to the tenant or housing authority.
The Bill has been read twice in the House of Commons and will be followed by a report stage before any amendments are made and it becomes law.
This Bill seeks to protect tenants but it will have to clearly define what a “rogue” landlord actually is, and what would constitute an offence. Its intended aim is to stamp out bad practice in the residential rental sector and make people’s home lives better.
Landlords have a legal duty of care to tenants, including making sure that the property is safe. This includes having gas safety certificates and checking gas appliances annually. They must also ensure that electrical systems are checked and that everything in the house is compliant with fire safety regulations.
If you are a landlord and would like legal advice regarding your duties as the law currently stands, including properly drawn documentation dealing with such issues please get in touch with our expert team of property lawyers at Slater and Gordon. Call us on freephone 0800 223 0066 or contact us online and we will call you.