Slightly unexpectedly and without much fanfare, banning orders edged a step closer today.
Banning orders allow local housing authorities to ask the tribunal to ban landlords or letting agents who have been convicted of specific “banning order offences” from being:
- letting agents;
- managing agents;
or some combination of these things in England. You can read much more about banning orders and the other provisions in the Housing and Planning Act here.
While many of the provisions in the Housing and Planning Act have been brought into force, most notably the fixed penalty regime, banning orders and the rogue landlord database have not. There has been a consultation [http://www.anthonygold.co.uk/latest/blog/consultation-banning-order-offences/] on which offences should be “banning order offences” which would permit a landlord or agent to be banned but nothing further has arrived. There was a suggestion that this was all ready to move forward earlier this year and the regulations were ready to go to the minister for approval but this all disappeared in the period before the general election when ministers, by convention, do not make orders.
It seems that the Housing Minister, Alok Sharma, has now moving these matters forward as some of the banning order provisions are now coming into force on 3 November 2017, that is tomorrow. This is happening because of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Commencement No. 6) Regulations 2017.
It is important to be clear that this is not actually bringing banning orders into force on 3 November. All this commencement order does is enable specific sections of the Act that require other orders and regulations to be made. These other regulations still require making and banning orders cannot come into effect until this has been done so there is some way to go. In addition, there has not been much apparent progress on the issue of the rogue landlord database. Without an effective mechanism for local authorities to check who has been banned the enforcement of banning orders will be practically impossible.
However, it is undoubtedly the case that today’s activity is step toward the implementation of banning orders more fully and implementation of these in April 2018 looks more probable.