The Government has finally launched its long awaited crackdown on rogue landlords, with a national database to monitor offenders going live and tough new banning orders introduced. It is part of a raft of measures designed to drive up standards in the private rented sector.
The database allows councils to easily track landlords convicted of housing or other criminal offences, while tougher laws could see offenders hit with lifetime bans from leasing homes. It includes information on landlords who have leased overcrowded properties, breached fire and gas safety laws, or have unlawfully evicted tenants.
Homelessness Minister Heather Wheeler said:
“I am committed to making sure people who are renting are living in safe and good-quality properties. That’s why we’re cracking down on the small minority of landlords that are renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation. Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.”
Councils must record details of any landlord or agent given a ban. The Government will publish regular updates on the number of banned landlords or those who have received civil penalties for each local authority area. The reforms were introduced through powers contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
Labour described the move as “a half measure that will do little to help private renters”. Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said the Government had not gone far enough with its crackdown on landlords. “Since 2010, Ministers have stopped Labour councils from bringing in licensing schemes to drive up standards. The next Labour Government will help renters with new consumer rights, longer tenancies and controls on their rents.”