The government has announced that it intends to bring into force a number of provisions contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
From 6 April 2018 the Act will allow local authorities to apply for a banning order where a landlord has been convicted of a 'banning order offence.'
What is a banning order?
A banning order will ban a person from:
(a) letting housing in England,
(b) engaging in English letting agency work,
(c) engaging in English property management work, or
(d) doing two or more of those things.
Whether that person acts for himself or via a corporate body.
What offences might prompt an application for a banning order?
The following offences will trigger an application for a banning order:
Any offence involving fraud, the production, possession or supply of illegal drugs, violent and sexual offences, are appropriate banning order offences subject to there being a link between the property being rented out and/or the tenant/household.
The offences below (subject to there being a link between the property being rented out and/or the tenant/household):
- An offence under sections 327-329 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
- An offence under sections 2 or 2A Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
- An offence under sections 30 or 48 Anti-social behaviour, crime and Policing Act 2014.
- An offence under sections 7, 9, 21 or 22 Theft Act 1968.
- An offence under sections 1(1) or 2 Criminal Damage Act 1971.
Any of the following offences:
- Illegally evicting or harassing a residential occupier in contravention of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 or the Criminal Law Act 1977;
- Any of the following offences under the Housing Act 2004:
- Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice;
- Offences in relation to licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs);
- Offences in relation to licensing of houses under Part 3 of the Act;
- Allowing a HMO that is not subject to licensing to become overcrowded;
- Providing false or misleading information.
- Failure to comply with management regulations in respect of HMOs;
- An offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 where a person contravenes section 36 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998;
- Failure to comply with a Prohibition or Emergency Prohibition Order under sections 20, 21 and 43 of the Housing Act 2004;
- An offence under section 32 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Can I argue against the making of the order?
Yes, you can make representations both to the local authority before the making of the application and to a tribunal if proceedings are commenced.
There are the following protections:
Before applying for a banning order the authority must give the person a notice of intended proceedings—
(a) informing the person that the authority is proposing to apply for a banning order and explaining why,
(b) stating the length of each proposed ban, and
(c) inviting the person to make representations within a period specified in the notice of not less than 28 days (“the notice period”).
- The authority must consider any representations made during the notice period.
- The authority must wait until the notice period has ended before applying for a banning order.
- A notice of intended proceedings may not be given after the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which the person was convicted of the offence to which the notice relates.
What happens if I breach the order?
Breach of a banning order is a criminal offence that carries up to 6 months imprisonment and an unlimited fine. It is also highly likely that confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act will follow.
How we can help
This type of law illustrates perfectly the often-hidden consequences of a criminal conviction.
To represent people properly, it is not enough that a solicitor understands only the main offence - a wider appreciation of the effects on a defendant must be understood and considered during case planning.
Our highly experienced team can assist you in navigating these complex penalties and working towards the most favourable resolution.
We represent landlords and therefore are uniquely placed to deal with all aspects of the above.