June 2016: Landlords and property agents will be interested in the implications of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which introduces a range of planning and housing reforms. These include changes providing that:
Rogue landlords and letting agents may be subject to banning orders and their details entered into a local authority database.
Landlords can recover abandoned premises without a court order provided that they serve various warning notices.
This business briefing provides further information for landlords and property agents on the changes.
The provisions set out below are not yet in force.
Local housing authorities (LHAs) in England can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for banning orders against a residential landlord or property agent who has been convicted of a “banning offence”. The definition of a banning offence is to be set out in regulations made by the Secretary of State. Banning orders will be used to prevent a person from:
· Letting housing in England
· Engaging in English letting agency work
· Engaging in English property management work
A banning order must last for at least 12 months, although a banning order may contain exceptions for some or all of the period to which it relates (for example, if there are existing tenants in a property). A breach is punishable by imprisonment or a fine of up to £30,000.
Breach of a banning order does not invalidate or affect the enforceability of any provision of a tenancy or other contract. In particular, this is to ensure that a tenancy agreement cannot be found to be invalid on the basis that it was granted when a landlord or property agent was subject to a banning order.
LHAs in England will maintain a database of persons convicted of a banning order offence and every LHA in England will have access to information in the database.
Recovering abandoned premises
Part 3 of the HPA 2016 sets out a procedure that a landlord may follow to recover possession of a property let under an assured shorthold tenancy, where it has been abandoned, without the need for a court order. It relates to properties in England only.
Section 57 of the HPA 2016 provides that a private landlord may give a tenant notice bringing the tenancy to an end on the day on which the notice is given, if all of the following apply:
· The tenancy relates to premises in England
· Rent has not been paid
· The landlord has given a series of warning notices and no tenant, named occupier or deposit payer has responded in writing to any of those warning notices before the date specified in the warning notices. A named occupier is a person permitted under the tenancy to live at the premises. A deposit payer is a person who paid a tenancy deposit on behalf of the tenant
The tenant can apply for their tenancy to be reinstated if they had a good reason for failing to respond to the warning notices.
The content of this Business Briefing is for information only and does not constitute legal advice. It states the law as at June 2016. We recommend that specific professional advice is obtained on any particular matter. We do not accept responsibility for any loss arising as a result of the use of the information contained in this briefing.