Rogue landlords will be added to a database and face banning orders after fresh government legislation went live today.
Those who are convicted of housing, immigration, or other criminal offenses such as overcrowded properties will be put on the database, so councils can share information between themselves and ‘keep a closer eye’ on those with a poor track record.
Landlords may also be given banning orders preventing them from leasing accommodation for between 12 months to life.
Heather Wheeler, minister for housing and homelessness, said: “I am committed to making sure people who are renting are living in safe and good quality properties.
“That’s why we’re cracking down on the small minority of landlords that are renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation.
“Landlords should be in no doubt that they must provide decent homes or face the consequences.”
Landlords that ignore a banning order will face criminal sanctions of up to six months imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
The changes were made in the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
Russell Quirk, chief executive of Emoov, said: “A welcome introduction from the government and one that will hopefully go some way in improving the rental sector not only for tenants but also for those landlords that abide by the rules.
“Despite changes to buy-to-let stamp duty, the UK rental market remains a very lucrative business and while many landlords are operating legitimately within the sector, there are those that continue to provide inadequate living conditions while charging extortionate rents.
“With more and more aspirational homeowners remaining resigned to the rental sector due to the ever-increasing cost of homeownership, it is important we do all we can to ensure this sector is operating appropriately and legally and not taking advantage of those with no other choice but to rent.
“Those that do break the rules must be penalised and hopefully, this latest legislation will not only do that but make others think twice before committing the same offence.”