The government’s Banning Orders and Rogue Database system for letting agents has gone live today despite the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) describing the initiative as “disappointing” and “pointless”.
From now onwards, landlords or letting agents who are convicted of specific offences can be banned from letting or managing a property for at least 12 months via a Banning Order, and added to the Rogue Database for at least two years.
The offences cover the most serious housing and criminal crimes. These include those involving fire and gas safety, Right to Rent, housing benefit fraud, ignoring council improvement notices, collusion in cannabis cultivation or drug dealing, poor HMO management, illegal evictions and violent or sexual offences against tenants.
“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,” says Minister for Housing and Homelessness Heather Wheeler.
“Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.”
First Tier Tribunal
Once convicted, councils can apply to a First Tier Tribunal to have the landlord or agent involved banned from operating in their area, although their inclusion on the national database will help prevent them from setting up shop elsewhere.
Agents who are convicted of a relevant offence will at first be issued with a Decision Notice before a Banning Order is made. This can then be appealed, although councils will be able to add an agent’s name to the Rogue Database regardless.
ARLA says it is frustrated in particular by the database because it will not be available to everyone meaning letting agents and tenants cannot check if a landlord is ‘rogue’ or banned. Equally, landlords will not be able check an agent’s status before engaging them, points it made to the government in February this year, but which appear to have been ignored.
“This appears to be a pointless exercise; if the list were made public – like the equivalent for estate agents – rogue agents and landlords would leave the market for good,” says David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA (pictured, left).