In May 2016, the Housing and Planning Bill received Royal Assent and became the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (HPA). Coodes Solicitors Partner and Commercial Property lawyer Paula Dunkley outlines how the HPA will deal with rogue landlords and agents.
“The HPA will make it more difficult for landlords and lettings agents to exploit tenants. Although it is designed to catch rogue landlords and lettings agents, anyone renting out accommodation should keep a close eye on the requirements of the HPA, to ensure they comply.
“The HPA will be introduced in a piecemeal fashion, so most of these provisions will come into force on a date to be announced by the regulators. Here are the key changes:
1. Banning orders
Landlords who commit offences will face banning orders, preventing them from renting a property for at least 12 months. Every LHA in England will have access to information held on a database of landlords convicted of a banning order offence.
2. Rent repayment orders
Rogue landlords who commit certain offences, including unlawful eviction, violent entry, and breach of a banning order will face rent repayment orders.
3. Recovering abandoned premises
The HPA sets out a procedure for landlords to recover possession of a property let under an assured shorthold tenancy, where it has been abandoned, without the need for a court order.
4. Electrical safety standards
Through the HPA, private landlords may pay financial penalties if their properties do not comply with electrical safety standards.
5. Fitness to rent HMOs
Landlords will need to undergo more rigorous tests to ensure they are fit to rent HMO (houses of multiple occupancy) accommodation without posing a risk to tenants’ health and safety.
6. Financial penalties as an alternative to prosecution
Housing authorities will be able to impose financial penalties on landlords, as an alternative to prosecution, in certain circumstances.
7. Better provision for local authorities to review housing
Local authorities will have access to data relating to deposits covering over 70 per cent of private rented sector properties. This will allow then to keep a closer eye on housing conditions and take action if necessary.”
For any advice in relation to your responsibilities as a landlord, please contact the team on 01872 246200 or firstname.lastname@example.org