The draft regulations introducing banning orders have now been published and are expected to come into force on 6 April 2018. Our previous blog on banning orders can be read here.
Under the regulation, agents and landlords can be banned from engaging in letting agency or property management work or letting properties if they are convicted of a banning order offence. The schedule of offences which could lead to a banning order are quite broad in nature and include:
- Unlawful eviction and harassment of occupier
- Violence for securing entry
- Failing to comply with an improvement notice
- Offences in relation to licensing HMOs
- Fire Safety and Gas Safety offences
- Offence of harassment and stalking
- Theft, Burglary, Blackmail and Handling stolen goods.
Banning orders are made by the First Tier Tribunal on a local authorities’ application. Such bans must state the length of any bans and will be imposed for at least 12 months. Recipients of such banning orders will have the right to apply for the order to be varied or revoked.
Breaching a banning order is an offence and those found guilty could be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 51 weeks or to a fine or both. Local authorities can also issue a civil penalty as an alternative to prosecution of up to £30,000. Those that continue to breach a banning order after any conviction will find themselves liable for a further offence. Finally, a banned person will also not be eligible to hold a HMO license.
The regulations are still in draft form and will need to be finalised and then approved by both houses of parliament prior to coming into force. We may therefore see some variations and additions especially following the parliamentary debates which are expected to take place in the early part of the new year.