Abandoned properties and rogue landlords – new laws proposed in the Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16Print publication
Part 2 of the Planning Bill introduces a number of measures to give Local Housing Authorities (LHAs) tools to ban rogue landlords to prevent exploitation of tenants.
There will be a new power allowing LHAs in England to apply for banning orders against rogue landlords or letting agents.
Banning Orders, which will be imposed by the First-tier Tribunal, will prevent a person from:
- Letting housing in England.
- Engaging in English letting agency work.
- Engaging in English property management work.
- Doing two or more of the above.
A Banning Order would last for at least six months. In the case of breach, the responsible LHA may impose a financial penalty of up to £5,000.
LHAs will also maintain a database of rogue landlords and letting agents and Statutory Regulations will deal with what precisely should be covered in a database entry.
Letting agents and landlords subject to Banning Orders would be given a decision notice before the database entry is made and would be informed:
- That after 21 days from the date of the Decision Notice, the person will be included in the database.
- How long their entry on the database will be maintained (this must be for at least two years from the date of the entry).
Recovering Abandoned Premises
Part 3 of the Bill provides that in certain cases, a landlord in the private rented sector can recover possession of an abandoned property without the need for a court order.
The policy reason behind this is to reform abandonment to enable more rented property to be more effectively recycled.
The new procedure is summarised below.
A private landlord would be able to give a tenant notice which brings the tenancy to an end, if the tenancy is related to premises in England and certain conditions are met.
The conditions would be that a certain amount of rent is unpaid (for tenancies where rent is payable monthly, the proposed threshold in the Bill is at least 2 consecutive months’ rent is unpaid) and that the landlord has given a series of warning notices and that neither the tenant or a named occupier has responded in writing to those warning notices before the date specified in the them.
The tenant would be able to apply for their tenancy to be reinstated if they have a good reason for failing to respond to the warning notices. To do so, the tenant would have to apply for the county court within six months of the notice bringing the tenancy to an end.