Government Proposals To Ban Criminal Landlords & Agents

Government Proposals To Ban Criminal Landlords & Agents

13:28 PM, 15th December 2016, About 6 years ago 15

Text Size

The Government is considering new legislation to enable bans to be imposed on criminal landlords and agents preventing them from operating in the private rented sector.

In principle this is an excellent idea because nobody wants criminals operating in our sector. They are few and far between but they tarnish our reputation. Helping tenants to identify and avoid the true rogues can only be a good thing.

However, we have some concerns. Government Proposals To Ban Criminal Landlords & Agents

The consultation paper appears to be extremely one sided at this point.

Will the legislation be fully thought through and will there be a quid pro quo to enable good landlords to identify bad tenants, for example, a database of rogue tenants who have been subject to eviction orders under section 8 or have had to be forcibly removed by bailiffs after failing to comply with an eviction order?

Below are some of the issues which concern us in respect of some of the reasons being considered for bans.

1. Renting out a property to an illegal immigrant. Landlords already face criminal prosecution for this, even they we have done it unwittingly. That was already overkill; to now ban us for 12 months because border control failed to do its job properly is outrageous and can only stem from the anti-landlord attitude of the Government (a recent survey found 92% of landlords believe the Government is anti-landlord).

2. Threatening violence against tenants. Any ban would have to follow a criminal conviction by Jury to be fair.

3. Cannabis farms. Sadly this is a problem for landlords. Whilst some criminal operators will allow cannabis farming, for most landlords it is an absolute disaster. If a landlord who had been targeted by a cannabis farmer was banned from letting without having been convincted as been complicit to the crime this would cause major concern .

4. Theft or criminal damage: it is bizarre that the Government should include this as something which landlords would do to tenants. Landlords have their properties trashed and items stolen when rogue tenants vacate and landlords face bills of billions of pounds putting these right and also face massive losses because of unpaid rent. The Government has got this completely the wrong way around. The police often tell landlords that criminal damage by tenants is a civil matter and we therefore face no recourse to justice. This is the issue the Government should be tackling.

The RLA summarised the key points in the consultation paper as follows:-

Relevant housing offences

  • Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice (section 30);
  • Offences in relation to licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) (section 72);
  • Offences in relation to licensing of houses under Part 3 of the Act (section 95);
  • Allowing a HMO that is not subject to licensing to become overcrowded (section 139);
  • Failure to comply with management regulations in respect of HMOs (section 234).

An offence under section 36 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998;

Failure to comply with a Prohibition or Emergency Prohibition Order under sections 20, 21 and 43 of the Housing Act 2004;

An offence under section 32 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 provided it relates to a property that is being rented out or managed by a landlord or property agent.

 

Immigration offences

Any offence, whether committed by an individual or a body corporate, for which they have been sentenced in the Crown Court (regardless of whether they were originally convicted in the Crown Court or Magistrates Court) involving:

  • fraud under the Fraud Act 2006;
  • the production, possession or supply of all classes of illegal drugs (including poisons) and/or managing premises where drug dealing and/or production takes place; or
  • any offence under Schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (specified violent and sexual offences).

The offence must have been committed:

  • at any residential premises in England, or in the local area9 of those premises; or
  • in relation to such residential premises.

In either case, the offender, or a person associated with him, must have owned or been involved in the management of the residential premises concerned at the time the offence was committed;

In addition, neither the offender nor the associated person must occupy the residential premises as their main residence and the offence must relate to the occupier of the residential premises.

 

Serious criminal offences

Any offence, whether committed by an individual or a body corporate, for which they have been sentenced in the Crown Court (regardless of whether they were originally convicted in the Crown Court or Magistrates Court) involving:

  • fraud under the Fraud Act 2006;
  • the production, possession or supply of all classes of illegal drugs (including poisons) and/or managing premises where drug dealing and/or production takes place; or
  • any offence under Schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (specified violent and sexual offences).

The offence must have been committed:

  • at any residential premises in England, or in the local area9 of those premises; or
  • in relation to such residential premises.

In either case, the offender, or a person associated with him, must have owned or been involved in the management of the residential premises concerned at the time the offence was committed;

In addition, neither the offender nor the associated person must occupy the residential premises as their main residence and the offence must relate to the occupier of the residential premises.

Other criminal offences

Any offence, whether committed by an individual or a body corporate, for which the offender has been sentenced in the Crown Court (regardless of whether they were originally convicted in the Crown Court or Magistrates Court).

The offence must have been committed against, or in conjunction with, any person who was residing at the property owned by the offender, other than a person associated with the offender.



Comments

by terry sullivan

12:14 PM, 16th December 2016, About 6 years ago

no chance--it will be one way only--further proof that this govt is vile

by terry sullivan

12:16 PM, 16th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tim Wragby" at "15/12/2016 - 14:54":

you are joking? i hope so!

by rob david

15:30 PM, 16th December 2016, About 6 years ago

No need for any of this new law waffle with all its costs viz; enforcement / big bro' / legal structures / more council 'bot parking spaces (...cast the 1st stone) etc etc. Just a gov' review register for both tenant & LL back by the Fraud Act.
Should either not be able to volunteer a history if asked then the rent / deposit is adjusted or offer declined.

by John Frith

18:17 PM, 16th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Mark, you say "Number one on my wish list would be a national database of Court records to enable good landlords to identify bad tenants".

After a previous discussion about the desirability of similar schemes, I had what I hope is a "good idea".

It started from me thinking of how there is a disincentive for people to go round driving into other cars because their own insurance premium would sky rocket. How could tenants be put in the same situation? Insurance is the key, because the insurance companies are used to keeping databases of private information, and are used to weighing the punitive effect of increased premiums. Of course the difficulty is getting the whole thing started, but .......

Currently the landlord can choose whether or not pay the increased premium to insure against tenant damage, or insure against loss of rent. But both of these are almost blind to the individual tenant, and if the landlord has to claim, the tenant doesn't suffer (unless the landlord goes to the expense of a CCJ).

But what if we were able to persuade the Insurers to launch a new product, which is nominally taken out by the tenant, and which indemnifies the landlord for damage and loss of rent for THAT TENANT / TENANCY!

Who actually ends up paying the premium could be negotiated, but the key point is that as the policy is against the tenant, and the Insurance Company would hopefully have the wherewithal to keep track of any claims, increase premiums for bad tenants, and give no claims discounts to the good ones.

The Insurance Companies would have an extra revenue stream, and us landlords would see bad tenants become uninsurable, and hence unhousable to those who are not providing a social service.

If anyone agrees with the idea, I hope they will help promote it.

by Mark Alexander

20:31 PM, 16th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Frith" at "16/12/2016 - 18:17":

Hi John

We kind of have that already with Rent Guarantee and Legal Expenses Insurance. However, the underwriting only results in a Yes or No or maybe with a guarantor answer.

I can't see the Government making it compulsory but if they did, access to Court records of section 8 eviction orders and valid assisted evictions would certainly help.

The information is out there, the problem is that is isn't accessible.
.


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

BECOME A MEMBER

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now