Tacking the problem of rogue landlords in the UK
Tackling the problem of rogue landlords in the UK
Rogue landlords and letting agents have long been a problem in the UK and around the world. Although few and far between, landlords and agents tarnish the property industry as a whole and undermine tenants confidence in rental properties.
Recent surveys show that 84% of tenants are happy with their accommodation landlord and that the average tenancy length is 3.5 years, but the UK government recognised that a rogue element was still at force and acutely affecting the minority of private rentals.
Back in August 2015 the Government entered into a period of consultation with interested parties in the UK property market, we discuss the consultation, its findings and the way ahead for the management of rogue landlords and letting agents.
Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector consultation
Between the 3rd and 27th August, 2015 the UK Government completed the consultation, the full findings are available here.
The consultation was completed by six hundred and fifteen influential parties in the UK, including organisations such as:
- Charities with an interest/involvement in Housing
- Housing Associations
- Landlord Associations
- Local Authorities and
- Also, a number of individual landlords and tenants were consulted too
Outcomes from the Consultation Paper
A number of proposal outcomes have emerged following the consultation; these include proposals such as:
- The development of a blacklist to highlight rogue landlords and problematic letting agents
- All landlords would need to pass a “fit and proper person test”, where they fail they will be banned from letting properties in the future. One particular example of this is landlords who persist in renting to illegal immigrants
- Local authorities to be given the power to seize offending private rental properties
- Orders for repayment of rent can be imposed; this is allowed under the Housing Act, 2004 but rarely acted upon in practice. Examples of circumstances include:
- Where a tenant is illegally evicted
- Where a landlord fails to comply with a statutory notice
- Civil penalties (up to £5,000) and also fines can be imposed where landlords have particular issues relating to their properties (N.B. Tenants need to notify the landlord of these issues too):
- Damp and Mould – Where a landlord fails to treat or take seriously outbreaks of damp or mould
- Overcrowding – Where a landlord overcrowds a property with far in excess the number of tenants to what could be considered reasonable
- Property disrepair – Landlords that allow a property to fall into disrepair, e.g. water leaks, electrical faults, etc.
- Vermin infestations – Landlords that fail to treat outbreaks of vermin (rats and mice) and other infestations too, e.g. cockroaches, flies, etc.
- It is proposed that information contained within the Tenancy Deposit Protection Data is shared with the local authority. It is believed this data will help local authorities to identify rogue landlords much more easily
Abandoned Property Management
The consultation also sought to improve the management process for abandoned property, e.g. where a tenant leaves the property. Help is proposed for landlords to speed up the process of eviction where a tenant abandons a property; this includes avoiding the need for landlords to have to go to court.
The next steps are for the proposals to become legislation. The Housing and Planning Bill is currently proceeding through Parliament.
We look forward to this legislation becoming law and improving the property market for everybody including responsible landlords and tenants. The new proposals will only concern the rogue element of landlords who should be encouraged to leave the UK property market ASAP.
Image Credits: Guardian