The Renters Reform Bill could end up with landlords going bankrupt, a housing law specialist is warning.
Des Taylor, director of compliance service provider Landlord Licensing & Defence, claims the Bill - which is slowly going through the House of Commons - will criminalise common errors and oversights that landlords and agents make, and give local councils the power to impose financial penalties up to £30,000 for each offence.
Taylor says: “The Bill will not only end the use of ‘no-fault’ evictions, but also introduce new requirements for landlords to register on a national register and with an ombudsman scheme, to provide meticulously correct paperwork and notice forms to tenants, and to comply with even more standards and regulations.
“Failure to do any of these things exactly, will expose landlords to the risk of hefty fines from coincils who will have a statutory duty to enforce them under the bill when it is enacted.”
The Bill also expands the scope of controversial rent repayment orders which Taylor says could be “devastating” in their impact.
He continues: “They could face multiple RROs and fines, which could wipe out their income and assets.
“The consequences for their tenants’ security of tenure would also be dire.”
Taylor calls for a national authority to set the level of fines and RROs, rather than leaving it to the discretion of Local Housing Authorities.
“We have seen how many LHAs have abused their powers under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which introduced civil penalties for rogue landlords.
“LHAs have instead targeted the low-hanging fruit of reasonable landlords, not rogues, and imposed exorbitant fines that are massively disproportionate to the offences, often without proper evidence or due process.
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