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The Housing and Planning Act 2016 has given councils new powers to deal with ‘rogue landlords‘ after stating that it will continue to drive up safety and standards in the private rented sector. They define such landlords as ‘a landlord who knowingly flouts their obligations by renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation to tenants’.
The Act includes:

  1. Allowing local authorities to apply for a banning order to prevent a particular landlord/letting agent from continuing to operate where they have committed certain housing offences and so removing them from the sector;
  2. Creating a national database of rogue landlords/letting agents, which will be maintained by local authorities which was previously announced in 2015 when the (then) Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new licensing scheme to crack down on unscrupulous landlords.  We now have a ‘rogue landlord’ database which lists half of all landlord prosecution under the Housing Act 2004 between 2006 and 2014.
  3. Allowing tenants or local authorities to apply for a rent repayment order where a landlord has committed certain offences (for example continuing to operate while subject to a banning order or ignoring an improvement notice). If successful the tenant (or the authority if the tenant was receiving universal credit) may be repaid up to a maximum of 12 months’ rent.
  4. Enable local councils to issue fines as well as prosecute.
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