It’s getting harder by the year to be a bad landlord and rightly so. From the day of Charles Dickens and the age of reform where landlords could get away with murder (quite literally) to today where increasing regulation helps weed out the worst of us.
The most recent tool against rogue landlords and agents is from the Housing and Planning Act 2016, in particular, rent repayment orders. As with most punitive action this hits landlords where it hurts; in the pocket. A landlord may be forced to repay up to a year’s worth of rent to tenants if they:
- Use violence to secure entry to the property
- Harass tenants
- Fail to comply with improvement notices or prohibition orders
- Have an unlicensed property or HMO
- Breach a banning order that prohibits them to rent properties for past infractions
The legislation took effect from April but is not all that is being done in London. With the age of social media, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has started naming and shaming landlords who have broken the law.
A database is being built in conjunction with London boroughs and will be published on the Mayor’s website listing all the landlords and agents who have been successfully prosecuted for housing offences.
The London Borough of Newham is helping to develop the database and with borough wide licensing in force, have been one of the most proactive in targeting rogue landlords. Since 2013 they have prosecuted over 1,100 rogue landlords and agents and banned 28 from operating.
Of course, not all landlords who fall foul of the law do so intentionally. If you are unaware of your legal obligations which grow each year or just don’t have time to meet the demands of being a landlord, using a reputable agent is the best way forward for you.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please feel free to contact your local Homefinders’ branch.