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MPs this week debate £30k fines and bans for rogue agents, landlords

The Housing and Planning Bill returns to the House of Commons tomorrow when the remaining stages of the legislation resume after the Christmas parliamentary recess.

Just before the festive break, the bill’s committee concluded its detailed analysis of the measures contained in the proposed legislation; now it returns to the full House of Commons for all MPs to discuss it.

In Christmas week a well-informed leak in the Sun newspaper appeared to confirm that the proposals include: 

- new fines of up to £30,000 for landlords who 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;

- the ability of councils to issue civil penalty notice on offenders which, in the words of the Sun, will “provide an instant deterrent for criminal operators”;

- the banning of agents and landlords who are considered ‘serial offenders’; 

- the creation of a database of rogue agents and landlords, which can be accessed by local authorities.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis told the Sun: “The private rental sector is still afflicted by too many rogues who rent dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties without a thought for the welfare of their tenants. We are determined to crack down.”

  • Andrew McCausland

    As a landlord, lettings and estate agent I am all in favour of these measures. My only concern is what would happen where the landlord provides a perfectly decent home but the tenant, through their own actions, wrecks the place.

    We, like many agents, take photo inventories on initial handover. Will the Councils and Courts accept that the landlord has complied with their statutory duty to provide a decent and safe home if the tenant then either makes it unsafe by their own actions or lives like a pig.

    For example, twice last year I responded to complaints from tenants about mice in properties. When I called to inspect I found half empty pizza boxes and dirty plates throughout the houses. The tenants seemed surprised when I told them their lack of dish washing and the presence of mice were probably linked. I still ended up paying for vermin control.

    On another occasion I was called by a Council enforcement officer following a complaint from a tenant about damp. It turned out the "damp" was caused by her forgetting to turn off the bath tap and flooding the place.

    The legislation requires us to remedy these situations. Whilst I fully support the efforts to drive out rogue landlords from this business I would want to see some measures within the legislation to protect landlords from rogue tenants.

  • Andrew McCausland

    As a landlord, lettings and estate agent I am all in favour of these measures. My only concern is what would happen where the landlord provides a perfectly decent home but the tenant, through their own actions, wrecks the place.

    We, like many agents, take photo inventories on initial handover. Will the Councils and Courts accept that the landlord has complied with their statutory duty to provide a decent and safe home if the tenant then either makes it unsafe by their own actions or lives like a pig.

    For example, twice last year I responded to complaints from tenants about mice in properties. When I called to inspect I found half empty pizza boxes and dirty plates throughout the houses. The tenants seemed surprised when I told them their lack of dish washing and the presence of mice were probably linked. I still ended up paying for vermin control.

    On another occasion I was called by a Council enforcement officer following a complaint from a tenant about damp. It turned out the "damp" was caused by her forgetting to turn off the bath tap and flooding the place.

    The legislation requires us to remedy these situations. Whilst I fully support the efforts to drive out rogue landlords from this business I would want to see some measures within the legislation to protect landlords from rogue tenants.

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