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Banning Orders and Rogue Database live from next week

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Time in the lettings world flies by so quickly that sometimes it can feel like, if you blink, you'll miss some important piece of new legislation coming into force.

Did you know that from 6 April local authorities in England can apply to the First-tier Tribunal to issue Banning Orders against landlords or lettings agents who have been convicted of a Banning Order offence?

The power was granted under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and is aimed at protecting tenants and driving out poor landlords and agents who bring down the reputation of the industry. 

We know that as ARLA Propertymark letting agents, you're principled and professional, but it's still crucial that you and your colleagues are familiar with the new powers and how they can affect both agents and landlords. Be sure to advise your landlord clients of the changes in case they are not aware. 

What is a Banning Order?

A Banning Order is a way for local authorities to take decisive and swift action to prevent rogues landlords and agents from operating in their area, thereby also improving the reputation of the private rented sector. 

Agents and landlords convicted of a Banning Order offence whilst operating as a residential landlord or letting agent at the time the offence was committed will be prevented from letting a property or engaging in lettings and property management for a fixed period of time (at least 12 months). If agents or landlords breach a Banning Order they can even face imprisonment. 

What kind of things are considered banning offences?  

Housing offences and serious criminal offences. 

  • Fire safety offences
  • Gas safety offences
  • Fraud
  • Failing to comply with an improvement notice
  • Failure to comply with management regulations in respect of HMOs
  • Violent or sexual offences

These are just some of the offences. For a full list, please see our Banning Orders fact sheet. For more information in Gas Safety, make sure you check out the latest issue of Property Professional.

The Banning Order database

If convicted of a banning order offence the Offending Agent or landlord will then be added to a national database of rogues which will be used to make it easy for councils to share data across the country and ensure that the rogue landlord or agent cannot simply move to another area and carry on operating. Offending landlords or agents will remain on the database for a minimum of two years.

Before placing an agent or landlord on the rogues database, the local authority must provide them with a Decision Notice in writing, but of course in the interests of fair justice there is a route of appeal available.  

We expect that the Government will shortly release official guidance which will detail exactly what kind of information will be entered onto the database.  

In certain circumstances a local authority could decide to make an entry on the database, instead of applying for a Banning Order. This way, even when an application for a Banning Order hasn't been successful, the local authority can still monitor those agents or landlords who are of concern to them. 

Sadly, to our frustration, the database will not be publicly available, which is something we argued for in our consultation response back in February 2017. This means that agents themselves will not know if a landlord they are dealing with is listed on the database. 

Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark, David Cox said:

“When this legislation was first announced, we were wildly supportive – anything which will help eradicate bad letting agents and landlords has our full support.

"However, the outcome is disappointing. The database won’t be public, which means no one will be able to see it and therefore letting agents and landlords who are on the list can continue operating with impunity.

"This appears to be a pointless exercise; if the list were made public – like the equivalent for estate agents – rogue agents and landlords would leave the market for good.”

Please note: The above is a summary of some of the key points, so don't forget to download our recently updated fact sheets which cover everything you need to know about Banning Orders and the database of rogue landlords and letting agents. If you book onto one of our Regional Meetings you'll also get the latest information first-hand as part of our legal round-up.