The Government published a discussion document in August last year (Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rented sector) setting out the offences which could be regarded as banning order offences. 88% of respondents strongly supported the suggested list which is now the starting point for further development.
The Consultation period for this legislation is until February 10th 2017 and the purpose of the paper is to invite comments and views on which offences should constitute ‘banning order offences’ as defined by section 14 of the Act.
Subject to Parliamentary approval, it is planned that the regulation would come into force on October 1st 2017.
There are four categories of proposed banning order offences:-
- Relevant housing offences – e.g. The condition and/or management of the properties being rented out.
- Immigration Offences – e.g. Allowing someone disqualified from renting because of their immigration status (Immigration Act 2014).
- Serious criminal offences – e.g. Involving fraud, drugs, violent and sexual offences.
- Other criminal offences – e.g. Theft or criminal damage by the Agent, or a landlord colluding with the occupier to commit a criminal offence, e.g. tax evasion or the supply of illegal drugs.
In addition to banning orders, the Act also allows for a national database of rogue landlords and property agents to be set up and maintained.
The likelihood is that banning orders will be used as a last resort where other types of enforcement have failed, but Local Authorities do not have to exhaust other options as they can decide whether or a not a banning order would be an appropriate sanction on a case by case basis.
A banning order will last for at least 12 months and a breach is punishable by imprisonment or a fine of up to £30,000. A banned person may also not hold a Licence for a house in multiple occupation (HMO).