Thursday, April 21, 2022

News: Council assesses further sanctions for Rotherham's rogue landlords


Rotherham Council is considering the use of Banning Orders to crack down on rogue private landlords.

The authority already operates a selective licencing policy in a number of areas where a licence fee for each property must be paid for by the landlord or agent and where each licence contains a set of conditions that the landlord must meet.

Through this work and "recent targeted operations" the council's cabinet is now being asked to approve a policy that includes further sanctions to address persistent or serious offences.

If approved, landlords could be banned from renting out residential properties if found guilty of offences including unlawful eviction, overcrowding, using false or misleading information, and fire or gas safety offences.

Banning Orders became law at the end of 2018 and are for a minimum of 12 months. When an order is made, it prevents an individual from letting property, or engaging in agency or property management work related to privately rented property anywhere in the England. Individuals are also prohibited from transferring assets, including to their family and/or associates.

A breach would constitute an offence which could result in imprisonment or a fine.

A report to cabinet state: "Strategic Housing within Adult Care, Housing and Public Health have noted that the potential to use Banning Orders are a necessary tool to improve the private rented sector and protect tenants. The Service has seen an increase in unregulated and /or unaccredited agents and landlords advertising rented properties through social media, without any appropriate letting background.

"A number of landlords have now, as a result of Selective Licensing, been found to be in breach of relevant legislation.

"This policy will offer the Council the means to take action against landlords and agents who have been convicted of certain offences, and who routinely offer poor housing, often to the poorest and most vulnerable in society."

Selective lcencing began in Rotherham in 2015 for properties in Eastwood, Masbrough, Dinnington and Maltby. It was later expanded to Parkgate and Thurcroft. The aim is to tackle the low housing demand and significant and persistent levels of antisocial behaviour related to the private rented sector.

Images: South Yorkshire Police / twitter


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