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MPs give thumbs up to banning rogue agents and landlords

MPs have given their backing to a government proposal to ban rogue letting agents and landlords who repeatedly break private rental sector laws or licensing agreements.

The House of Commons last evening voted for the Third Reading of the Housing and Planning Bill. There were 309 MPs in favour and 216 against, giving a majority of 93; this means it is highly likely that the measures will pass into law before the summer.

The power to ban is only one measure in the proposed legislation. 

There will also be fines of up to £30,000 for landlords or their agents who knowingly let out filthy or unsafe homes, particularly targeting those who fail to take action on overcrowding, hazardous conditions, poor sanitation, electrical faults, damp and vermin infestation.

Councils will also be given powers to access a database of rogue operators - agents and landlords - who have repeatedly offended on lettings legislation. 

Meanwhile a Labour amendment to the bill last evening, seeking to ensure that all rented accommodation was “safe for people to live in” was defeated by 312 votes to 219, a majority of 93.

“The majority of landlords let property which is and remains in a decent standard. Many landlords go out of their way to ensure that even the slightest safety hazard is sorted quickly and efficiently. So it is even more distressing when we see reports of homes which are frankly unfit for human habitation being let, often at obscene prices” shadow housing minister Teresa Pearce, proposer of the amendment, told MPs.

However, local government minister Marcus Jones claimed the proposal would result in “unnecessary regulation and cost to landlords.” 

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