A Freedom of Information request by The Guardian newspaper has produced the startling admission from government that not even one landlord has been issued with a banning order in the first year the measure was in existence.
Last April the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government said landlords convicted of a range of housing, immigration and other criminal offences risked being banned.
In addition, they would be put on a new database of rogue operators: some agents were also at risk of being put on this database, it was said at the time.
However, the same FOI request by The Guardian produced the fact that only four landlords had been put on the database - and none at all had been subject to a banning order.
This was despite a prediction a year ago that there were as many as 10,000 rogue landlords in England alone and that a possible 600 would be put on the database.
Clive Betts MP, the chair of the parliament’s housing, communities and local government select committee, told The Guardian about the absence of orders: “Given what we know about the bad behaviour of a small number of landlords, it is very, very disappointing there aren’t more being prosecuted and banned.”
And Jacky Peacock, a director of the tenants’ charity Advice4Renters, added: “It’s pretty shocking if there are only four entries, 12 months after the database was established. Not a single banning order has been served on any rogue landlords who should be prevented from letting unsafe properties, after ignoring formal local authority notices and prosecutions.”
Last October the MHCLG told the newspaper, which was jointly investigating with ITV News, that it was expecting“to see entries in the database increasing in the new year”.
Since April 2018, councils in England have been compelled to use the database to enter the details of rogue landlords who receive one of the government’s new banning orders.
Local authorities can apply to the courts for an order to be issued to the sector’s worst offenders, which prevents a landlord letting their property either directly or through an agent.
The councils can also choose to use the new database to enter the details of landlords who have been convicted of a “banning order offence” – a range of 14 offences from unlawful eviction and harassment to licensing breaches – or who have received two financial penalties for housing offences in the past year.
Both banning orders and discretionary entries into the database only apply to offences committed since April 6 2018.