This month the draft Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Banning Order Offences) Regulations 2017 were approved by both houses of Parliament. Our previous post on banning orders can be read here.
The Regulations were put forward by Lord Bourne in the House of Lords. In summary, with the introduction of banning orders the government is hoping to prevent landlords or agents in England from letting houses, engaging in letting agency work and/or engaging in property management. The banning order will last a minimum of 12 months with no upper limit. Any banning order is issued by a First Tier Tribunal on a local authority’s application who will also be responsible for any enforcement action.
In introducing the regulations Lord Bourne stated that banning orders will target the most prolific offenders who have committed serious housing, immigration and other criminal offences in the role of landlord or agent. The banning order offences are set out in a schedule of the Regulations and were the subject of a public consultation. The government’s response to the consultation was published last month. There were 223 responses with a high level of support for the Regulations.
Ultimately local authorities will apply to the First Tier Tribunal for any banning order and the government will issue a guidance document on how they should use these new powers. Until that guidance is produced it is hard to assess the full effects of banning orders. In addition, the rogue landlord and agent database has not been mentioned during both Houses’ debates and without this being in operation banning orders are unlikely to be very effective as it will be difficult for other local authorities to find out about such orders.