Everything the serious buy-to-let landlord needs to know about the new laws
The new landlord banning legislation, created by the Housing and Planning Act 2016, has gone live. Local authorities can now issue banning orders and put rogue landlords on a national database. I discussed this, in brief, a few months ago, when I wrote about the buy-to-let changes that landlords must make in 2018. In this article, you’ll learn about the detail of the new law, and how a ban can be avoided.
Why are banning orders needed?
The government wants to crack down on rogue landlords – and quite right too. They bring the buy-to-let sector into disrepute. Poor-quality housing puts tenants in danger, though the condition of a property is not the only offence that could get you banned as a landlord.
What are the banning order offences?
The list of banning order offences was compiled after a period of consultation in December 2016. It is written into law within the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Banning Order Offences) Regulations 2017. The offences are:
- Unlawful eviction and harassment of the tenant
- Using violence to secure entry
- Not complying with an Improvement Notice
- Failing to comply with a prohibition order
- Not complying with HMO regulations (including licensing)
- Not licensing properties correctly and providing false or misleading information
- Contravening an Overcrowding Notice
- Fire safety offences
- Gas safety offences
- Not complying with the landlord regulations under the Immigration Act 2014
- Violent and sexual offences
- Misuse of drugs
- Using the proceeds of crime to arrange, acquire, or possess property
- Criminal damage and threatening behaviour
- Harassment or stalking
- Breaching a criminal behaviour order
- Theft, burglary, blackmail, handling stolen goods
- Failing to comply with a Community Protection Notice
What happens if you receive a banning order?
A banning order will prevent you from letting a property, or being involved in letting and property management, or both, for a set amount of time. You won’t be able to work or be involved with an organisation that does any of these things, either.
As a landlord, you will be banned from:
- Holding an HMO license
- Transferring the property to an associate to avoid penalties
Tenancy agreements will be voided, and the local authority could take over the management of the property.
You may also be added to the Database of Rogue Landlords.
What is the Database of Rogue Landlords?
This database is a national list of rogue landlords, available to local authorities to help them enforce actions against rogue landlords. If you are placed on it, the details kept could include:
- Your name, address, and contact details
- Details of the properties you own, let or manage
- Details of the banning offences of which you have been convicted (even if they are no longer in force)
- The financial penalties you have been given
Your name will stay in the database for at least two years, though you can appeal the entry. If you do appeal, you will only have 21 days to do so. If the appeal is successful, your name will be removed from the database.
How do you receive a banning order?
If the local authority wishes to issue a banning order, it must apply to a First-tier Tribunal for a banning order. Before doing so, it must give you a ‘Notice of Intended Proceedings’. This explains why action is being taken and the proposed ban.
You will be given at least 28 days to respond. The local authority must wait until this period has ended to apply for the banning order.
Factors that influence a banning order
When deciding whether to issue a banning order, the local authority will consider the following factors:
- The offence and its seriousness
- If you have previous convictions for banning order offences
- If you are currently on (or have previously been on) the Database of Rogue Landlords and Letting Agents
- How the banning order may affect you and others
What happens if the local authority makes a management order?
Should the local authority make a management order, it will take control of the property and receive all rental income from the property. However, you will still have to cover financial commitments, such as the cost of repairs and your mortgage.
What if you breach a banning order?
If you continue to let a property under a banning order or conduct other business that has been banned, you could be fined, imprisoned, or both.
Clearly, it pays to ensure you are fully versed in all the laws, rules, and regulations that are captured within this legislation. If you’re not sure what these are, or how they affect you, then call one of the Ezytrac team today on+44 01522 503 717. We’ll help you navigate the minefield of the Database of Rogue Landlords and avoid a very expensive banning order.