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Posted on August 4th 2015 by admin-movingin

Ministers spell out how they will deal with rogue agents and landlords

The Government’s determination to crack down on rogue operators within the private rented sector has been underlined.

Ministers have spelled out their plans for a blacklist of bad agents and landlords.

Proposals for a blacklist require a landlord or managing agent to “have an office in the UK”.

The blacklists would also rely on data held by tenancy deposit schemes made available to local authorities.

Proposals also say that discrimination on the grounds of race, etc, would be a reason for declining a property licence for an HMO.

This immediately suggests a problem should agents or landlords wish to reject a certain type of tenant in order to escape possibility of prosecution under Right to Rent.

The new ‘technical discussion’ paper was yesterday published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The paper, which does not identify what “an office in the UK” means, backs up ministers’ rhetoric on Right to Rent.

It proposes how bad landlords should be hit with rent repayment orders and civil penalties if they flout the law.

It proposes that “relevant housing offences” should include overcrowding, illegal evictions and harassment of tenants, and “continuing to let to an illegal immigrant”.

The paper also proposes banning rogue landlords and letting agents. During a ban, it would be an offence for them – or, importantly, anyone associated with them – to be involved with the letting or management of a residential property.

Criminal sanctions would include prison, rent repayment and action under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

An agent or landlord could be banned if found guilty of two more offences.

The paper also drills into other issues, including where rent repayment orders should be made, and where a tenant abandons a property. In this scenario, landlords would be able to repossess their properties more quickly than is currently the case.

The paper emphasises the Government’s desire to engage with agents, landlords, local councils and tenants groups.

Called “Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector”, the closing date for comments is August 27.