The government has passed a number of laws that punish landlords and letting agents in England who have been convicted of certain criminal offences.
Local housing authorities (LHAs) can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for a banning order against letting agents or landlords who have been convicted of a 'banning order offence' committed after 6 April 2018. The offences include failing to comply with an improvement notice, letting to someone who doesn't have a right to rent (see ) because of their immigration status and being convicted of unlawful eviction.
Seefor a full list of banning order offences.
If granted, the banning order will prevent the landlord/letting agent from:
To apply for a banning order the LHA must first give you a notice within 6 months of a banning order offence that states:
If the LHA decides to continue, it must apply to the First-tier Tribunal who must consider the following before making a banning order:
If a banning order is breached you will be guilty of a criminal offence and could be imprisoned for up to 51 weeks, and/or be fined.
If you then continue to breach a banning order you will be liable to a further fine for each day or part of a day that the breach lasts, unless there is a reasonable excuse for the breach continuing.
Instead of a criminal conviction, the LHA may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 if it decides, beyond reasonable doubt, that you have breached a banning order.
The LHA must first give you a notice within 6 months of breaching a banning order or, in the case of continued breaches, within 6 months of the last day that the continued breach took place.
The government has created a database of rogue landlords and letting agents in England who have been convicted of a banning order or a 'banning order offence' committed after 6 April 2018. These will be kept up to date by the Local Housing Authority (LHA). Seefor a full list of banning order offences.
The content of the database will be used by the LHA for various purposes including when investigating breaches of housing law by a landlord and letting agents.
You'll qualify to be put on the database if you have:
Prior to being convicted of a banning order offence you should be given a decision notice. This must be given within 6 months of:
The decision notice must inform you:
An appeal must be made within the 21 days before your inclusion on the database and the LHA cannot include you on it until the appeal process has ended.
The First-tier Tribunal can make a rent repayment order (RRO) requiring a landlord to repay up to 12 months' rent to their tenant, where it is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the landlord has done one of the following:
A tenant can apply for an RRO (with or without help from their LHA) if:
The LHA can also apply where the offence relates to housing in the LHA's area. It must serve you with a notice before starting a claim in a First-tier Tribunal. The notice must be given within 12 months of the date the offence was committed and state why it is applying for an RRO, how much rent it wants to recover and give no less than 28 days for you to make a statement to the LHA (which it must consider).
For more information on RROs, see the.