A new database of rogue landlords and letting agents will be launched in England next Spring, as the government introduces banning orders for those who fail to protect tenants.
Originally announced in 2016’s Housing and Planning Act, the legislation is now set to come into force in April – as long as its regulations are approved by parliament in the new year.
Here, we explain how the banning orders will work, and offer advice on how to meet your responsibilities as a landlord.
Banning orders to be introduced
From April next year, a new database will name landlords who have been banned from letting property, or have been convicted of an offence that prevents them from letting or managing one.
The Department for Local Communities and Government (DCLG) has provided details of breaches that can result in landlords being banned. They include:
- Illegally evicting or harassing a tenant
- Using violence to enter a property
- Failing to comply with improvement notice/prohibition order
- Failing to adhere to HMO (houses in multiple occupation) rules or management regulations
- Providing false or misleading information
- Failing to adhere to an overcrowding notice
Those given banning orders won’t be able to earn income from lettings or work as part of managing agents.
At this stage, it isn’t clear whether the database will be available to the public.
Your responsibilities as a landlord
As a landlord, there are a series of things you need to do to ensure the safety of tenants living in your property.
- Maintaining heating and water systems and bathroom installations
- Having a gas safety check done by a registered engineer each year
- Ensuring electrical circuits and appliances are safe
- Ensuring furniture meets fire-safety regulations and testing smoke detectors
- Carrying out a condition check at the start of the tenancy
You’ll also need to ensure your tenants are living in the UK legally under ‘Right to Rent’ laws, and will need to adhere to any licensing systems put in place by your local authority.
With this in mind, some landlords choose to appoint a managing agent to look after their property on their behalf.
Becoming a landlord
With a raft of new affordability legislation and taxation changes coming in to force in the last couple of years, starting out as a landlord has become a more complicated and expensive business.
Before considering property investment, make sure you do your research on the local market (including likely capital gains and rental yields), and check out our guide on 12 things buy-to-let landlords need to be aware of to get to grips with how time-consuming a pursuit property investment can be.