The government has launched an official consultation process on plans to for new banning orders to clampdown on rogue landlords and property agents from operating in the private rented sector.
The banning orders would be put in place when rogue landlords commit serious offences, particularly against tenants.
The consultation is seeking views on which offences should be subject to the orders, with proposed offences including failing to carry out work required by the council to prevent a health and safety risk to tenants, threatening tenants with violence, or illegally evicting them.
Any landlord or property agent who is subject to a banning order may be prevented from letting or managing a property indefinitely, with their name also included in a national database of offenders.
Housing minister Gavin Barwell said: “Banning orders will allow us to drive out the worst offenders and help make sure millions of hard-working private tenants across the country are protected from exploitation.
“While the vast majority of landlords are responsible we are determined to tackle the minority who abuse and exploit vulnerable people.”
The proposals form part of the government’s commitment to improving standards within the private rented sector.
Commenting on the consultation from DCLG on new banning orders, David Cox, managing director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), said: “It’s good to see that the government is consulting on banning orders in order to clarify what these offences will include. However, we would question the practicalities of the proposals.
“It seems completely illogical that the database of rogue landlords and letting agents will only be accessible to local authorities and DCLG; surely this ultimately defeats the purpose of the legislation? If there is no public access to the database how will landlords or tenants understand if they are using a banned agent and how do agents see if those applying for employment are blacklisted or banned?
“Government is seeking to get tougher on rogue agents but this will not work unless legislation is joined up; in this case with the Estate Agents Act 1979. Without combining the lists, there is a very real danger that a banned sales agent could set up as a letting agent or vice versa.
“If the government is really serious about improving standards it needs to be much more holistic in its approach to regulation and give greater resources to local authorities to better enforce existing laws.”