A new piece of legislation has been invoked to ban a landlord from any involvement in the private rental sector for the next five years - and the move has been welcomed by a firm of property solicitors.
Letting Agent Today has already reported that in a case brought by Telford & Wrekin council, David Beattie has been banned from being a landlord and ordered to pay back housing benefit paid to him by the authority for two of his former tenants.
At a tribunal over the summer The Property Chamber in Birmingham heard that Beattie was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence for a HMO. The tribunal also found that Beattie had issued a licence instead of an assured shorthold tenancy in a deliberate attempt to mislead tenants as to their legal rights and security of tenure.
The licences stated to tenants that they could be evicted in 48 hours or fewer.
Now the banning has been welcomed by Thursfields Solicitors; the firm says it shows how the rarely-used law - the Housing and Planning Act 2016 - cannot be ignored.
Lauren Bryan, a specialist lawyer in property disputes at Thursfields, says: “This is the first person in England to be banned from being a landlord under new legislation brought in a year ago.
“The Housing and Planning Act 2016 provides new powers which permit local housing authorities to seek banning orders where landlords or property agents have been convicted of a banning order offence.
“In this case, the landlord had already been refused an HMO licence in 2015 because he ‘was not a fit and proper person’, and yet the hearing heard he had continued to run the house and advertise rooms to let.
“He also issued a different licence to tenants – stating they could be evicted in 48 hours or less – instead of an assured short-hold tenancy.”
Bryan adds: “This legal action highlights new powers to protect tenants and tackle landlords who flout the law.”
The tribunal stated that Beattie’s licences were “a deliberate attempt to mislead tenants as to their legal rights and security of tenure”.