4 ways the government plans to crack down on rogue landlords

28 November 2022

The government has announced new measures to crack down on non-compliant landlords, to support its previous proposals to reevaluate the rogue landlord database.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has announced new measures to crack down on rogue landlords, following the death of the two-year old Awaab Ishak due to hazardous mould in his social housing rental home. "Everyone deserves the right to live in a safe, decent home and this government will always act to protect tenants," says Gove.

This follows proposals in the A Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper to list rogue landlords through the property portal.

New enforcement measures will combat private sector non-compliance

More ways to enforce compliance will be introduced to crack down on rogue landlords in the private rented sector, with £14 million awarded to seven regions with high numbers of poor private rented homes.

This money will be put towards increased fines in Greater Manchester; investment in behavioural science to instigate a culture change for landlords and help them improve their knowledge and skill set; and creating a database of private rented homes to help record standards in Cornwall.

Other areas to see increased funding are Liverpool, Eden in Cumbria, Ryedale in North Yorkshire, and the Derbyshire Dales.

Funding will be restricted for social housing providers with poor standards

As well as implementing targeted restrictions on Rochdale Boroughwide Housing - the provider responsible for Awaab Ishak's property - the government will block Affordable Homes Programme funding for any housing provider that breaches the Regulator of Social Housing's standards, until the provider makes improvements.

Gove has also shared that providers that have already been granted funding may lose it if improvements are needed, unless construction has already started.

The regulator will gather evidence from all housing association and local authority landlords to see how they're identifying and dealing with damp and mould issues in their properties. If they aren't meeting the right standards, the regulator will then take action.

The white paper proposes updates to the rogue landlord database

A rogue landlord database has been in use since 2016 in England, with local councils required to record banning orders in the database.

However, if a landlord commits a banning order offence but an order isn't served, councils can currently decide whether or not to add this to the database. Councils can also choose whether to register if a landlord receives two or more Civil Penalty Notices.

The white paper plans to update this process, and instead mandate entry of "all eligible offences" in the database, and make this data publicly available, to "allow law-abiding landlords to be distinguishable from criminals."

The threshold for a civil penalty will also be lowered to cover all civil penalties, rather than waiting for two or more to be earned. Fines will also be strengthened for serious offences or "high criminality", with a national fine framework introduced. Ways to bolster enforcement for standard breaches will also be explored.

The property portal will help understanding around compliance issues

A consultation on the rogue landlord database has also concluded that the property portal outlined in the white paper will give landlords a "single front door" to the relevant information for landlords, tenants, and local councils.

This will help landlords understand their obligations, give tenants access to compliance information, and ensure councils can use that data to crack down on rogue landlords.

Some of the "functionality" of the existing Database of Rogue Landlords will be included in the portal, to increase visibility over "eligible unspent landlord offences".

This article is intended as a guide only, and does not constitute legal advice. For more information, visit gov.uk

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