A statement from the government has repeated its determination to clean up the private rental sector through a series of measures, including an occasional update on the number of agents subject to banning orders.
The statement did not unveil new policies but emphasised that banning orders, which came into effect last Friday, would help stop sub-standard properties being let out.
The announcement confirmed that landlords convicted of a range of housing, immigration and other criminal offences such as leasing overcrowded properties, fire and gas safety offences and unlawful eviction, will be put on a new database.
Councils - one of the few groups with access to the database - can share the list of offenders between themselves “and keep a closer eye on those with a poor track record” says the announcement.
Housing and homelessness minister Heather Wheeler says: “I am committed to making sure people who are renting are living in safe and good quality properties. That’s why we’re cracking down on the small minority of landlords that are renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation. Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.”
Landlords convicted of offences under the government’s new law may also be given banning orders preventing them from leasing accommodation for a period of time, ranging from 12 months to life.
Councils must record details of any landlord or property agent who has received a banning order on the database.
Landlords that ignore a banning order will face criminal sanctions including up to six months imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
The government says it will use the database to publish regular updates on the number of landlords and agents who have been banned, convicted of a banning order offence or received two or more civil penalties, broken down by local authority area.
“Public safety is paramount which is why this government will support further measures proposed by [Labour’s] Karen Buck MP in a Private Member’s Bill to protect tenants in both the social and private rented sectors. This forms part of the government’s plan to ensure a safer and stronger housing market that works for everyone” the statement concludes.