housing & housing services
local government
2

5th Annual Tackling Rogue Landlords Forum

housing & housing services

local government

08:45 - 16:45

Thursday 14 May 2020

Central London

This Forum provides participants with the opportunity to examine successful methods of tackling rogue landlords and improve housing standards across the private rented sector. Attendees will be provided with a legislative update from the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government on the powers, measures and grants available to local authorities to tackle rogue landlords, as well as gaining an insight in to how to effectively engage with tenants to improve housing standards. In addition, best practice practitioners will share guidance on utilizing new Banning Order powers, harnessing cross-council collaboration and building successful selective licensing and accreditation schemes. Other keynote speakers include Shelter, Greater London Authority and National Landlords Association

The day is split in to 5 sections – ‘Government Update’ ‘Enforcing the Law’ ‘Working with Tenants’ ‘Working with Landlords’ and ‘Innovating Approach.’

Audience

This Forum is specifically designed for the Housing and Voluntary sector. Typical job titles will include:

  • Directors of Housing and Environment
  • Enforcement and Planning Officers
  • Heads of Housing Services
  • Directors of Regulation and Enforcement
  • Neighbourhood Planning Officers
  • Heads of Planning and Development
  • Heads of Service
  • Community Protection Manager
  • Compliance Manager
  • Directors of Public Health
  • Environmental and Health Officers
  • Service Managers
  • Heads of Private Sector Housing
  • Directors of Safeguarding
  • Councillors

This Forum is also open to the Private Sectors to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Angelica Datta, Head of Private Rented Sector Enforcement, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Rebecca Bicocchi, Senior Project Officer in the Private Rented Sector Team, Greater London Authority
  • Gavin Dick, Local Authority Policy Officer, National Landlords Association
  • Ruth Ehrlich, Policy Officer, Shelter
View the agenda and additional speakers

08:45

Registration, Refreshments and Networking


09:30

Chair's Welcome Address

Professor Alexander Marsh, Professor of Public Policy, University of Bristol (CONFIRMED)

Co-Author of ‘The private rented sector in the UK: An overview of the policy and regulatory framework’


Part 1: Government Update


09:40

Morning Keynote: Outlining The Next Steps in Tackling Rogue Landlords

  • Analysing the impact of the The Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018 and the Tenancy Fees Act 2019, including providing tenants with more rights and consolidating standards of living
  • Examining the reasons local authorities have been slow to utilize powers from The Housing and Planning Act 2016, such as legislative grey areas around banning orders and how to overcome them
  • Highlighting the resources available to local authorities to clarify grey areas and resolve common issues, including the £4 million grant and Rogue Landlords Enforcement guidance documents
  • Outlining the key findings of the Rogue Landlord Database Reform consultation and forecasting how making the database public could alter the role of local authorities
  • Sharing plans to end no-fault evictions and introduce Lifetime Rental Deposits

Angelica Datta, Head of Private Rented Sector Enforcement, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (CONFIRMED)


Part 2: Enforcing the Law


10:00

Special Keynote: Empowering Local Authorities to Identify Rogue Landlords Across London

  • Outlining the Mayor’s Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker including public information and private information available to local authorities and London Fire Brigade only, and the reporting tool
  • Highlighting the ways the database can be used to empower local authorities, for example by identifying rogue landlords that operate across boroughs and promoting collaboration between councils
  • Sharing lessons to be considered as local authorities outside of London begin to use the nation-wide government Rogue Landlord Database
  • Analysing next steps for tackling rogue landlords across London, including plans for use of funding allocated by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Rebecca Bicocchi, Senior Project Officer in the Private Rented Sector Team, Greater London Authority (CONFIRMED)


10:20

Case Study: Successfully Utilising London’s First Banning Order Against a Rogue Landlord

  • Outlining the process by which Camden Council obtained a four-year banning order against a landlord for breaches of the Housing Act 2014
  • Demonstrating how the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker and IBD database can be used to identify individuals and gain relevant evidence – forecasting how the nationwide database can be similarly used
  • Analysing the timelines for gaining an entry warrant, conducting inspections, processing the tribunal and restoring the flat to working order
  • Sharing best practice and lessons learnt from the process, including working collaboratively with other councils and bodies to ensure the individual sticks to his sentence of not operating in England for four years
  • Highlighting the next phase in enforcement for Camden Council, including hiring a data scientist from the GLA and working with neighbouring councils and the HMRC to process 6-7 more banning orders

Darren Wilsher, Private Sector Housing Manager, Camden Council (CONFIRMED)


10:40

Questions and Answers Session


11:00

Networking and Refreshments


11:20

Case Study: Developing a Successful Licensing Scheme to Raise Standards of Living

  • Outlining the development and renewal of the Waltham Forest selective licensing scheme, including the creation of a minimum licensing standard which matches contemporary legislation and raises standards of living in the area
  • Clarifying the application process of the scheme, including checking the candidate is a ‘fit and proper person’ and ensuring every property they own meets standard conditions
  • Highlighting how the licensing scheme has been used in line with the Housing and Planning Act to enforce better conditions through 149 civil penalties, more than 50 interim management orders and 94 successful prosecutions
  • Sharing how the the 5-year renewal will be used to improve standards of living across Waltham Forest

Julia Morris, Service Manager – Private Sector Housing and Licensing, Planning Enforcement, Waltham Forest Council (CONFIRMED)


Part 3: Working with Tenants


11:40

Special Keynote: Proactively Working with Tenants to Tackle Rogue Landlords: A Voluntary Sector Perspective

  • Outlining the reasons why renters often don’t complain, for example through fear of eviction
  • Highlighting the importance of clarifying rights and responsibilities to tenants and landlord to ensure they make and resolve complaints with speed and accuracy
  • Sharing our views on how government can use the Renters’ Reform Bill to rebalance the relationship between landlords and tenants and use it as a vehicle to ensure better conditions in the PRS and ensure effective enforcement strategies when things go wrong
  • Understanding what landlords and tenants need from the civil justice system to enforce their rights and navigate the court system

Ruth Ehrlich, Policy Officer, Shelter (CONFIRMED)


12:00

Case Study: Understanding Vulnerable Tenants Needs Through Research Intelligence

  • Outlining the rented property survey to be carried out across Jaywick, which has officially been listed as the most deprived area in the country
  • Analysing the expenditure of the £100,000 government grant, including on research staff, technology and survey development
  • Highlighting how intelligence will be used to create a geographic information system to map problem properties and individuals to keep in contact with, rather than relying on anecdotal or historical evidence
  • Sharing how the research will be coupled with projects to build new homes to improve standards of livings for vulnerable tenants in Jaywick

Tim Clarke, Head of Housing and Environmental Health, Tendring Council (invited)


12:20

Questions and Answers Session


12:40

Lunch and Networking


Part 4: Working with Landlords and Letting Agents


13:40

Afternoon Keynote: Helping Letting Agents to Get Ahead in 2020

  • Exploring the role of letting agents in regulating the private rented sector including providing a voice and advice for tenants
  • Reflecting on how the increased costs on landlords due to the Tenancy Fees Act 2019 and the phasing out of Mortgage Interest Relief (MIR) has affected the letting industry, for example landlords neglecting maintenance standards to reduce costs
  • Highlighting best practice moving forward including an open rogue landlord database, minimum energy efficiency standard (EES) ratings and fire safety and electrical checks to help agencies vet potential employees
  • Sharing key findings from the The Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) working group recommendations, including licensed customer-facing staff

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark (CONFIRMED)


14:00

Special Keynote: Building a Proactive Relationship with the Private Rented Sector

  • Highlighting the importance of landlords understanding their responsibilities and duties, and remaining up to date with legislative changes – the value of seeking training, accreditation and continuous professional development
  • Reflecting on government action taken to tackle ‘rogue’ landlords, including opening the Rogue Landlord Database to the public
  • Considering why licensing schemes are often ineffective at tackling criminal behavior in the private rented sector, and the value of local authorities building more positive relationships with their landlord community
  • Emphasizing the need for stronger enforcement to ensure that criminal landlords are driven out of the sector

Gavin Dick, Local Authority Policy Officer, National Landlords Association (CONFIRMED)


14:20

Case Study: Encouraging Landlords to Improve Standards Through Accreditation

  • Outlining the partnership between Unipol Student Homes, the National Landlords Association (NLA) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) to create the ‘Leeds Rental Standard’ scheme
  • Highlighting how the creation of a self-regulatory body to log, manage, and resolve any tenant complaints without Council involvement, allows the local authority to concentrate their regulatory resources on those that show no sign of meeting housing standards voluntarily
  • Sharing how the benefits of joining the scheme, including priority access to the Council Housing Officers advice and waste disposal concessions, are highlighted to landlords to encourage their participation
  • Reflecting on the decision to create a publicly accessible ‘accredited landlords database’ to encourage tenants to utilize the scheme and how this can be used in conjunction with a rogue landlords database

Mike Brook, Service Manager, Private Sector Housing, Leeds City Council (CONFIRMED)

Gavin Dick, Local Authority Policy Officer, National Landlords Association (CONFIRMED)


14:40

Questions and Answers Session


15:00

Networking and Refreshments


Part 5: Innovating Approach


15:20

Case Study: Harnessing Cross-Council Collaboration to Tackle Rogue Landlords

  • Outlining the development of Southwark’s Rogue Landlords Multi-disciplinary team, which includes partnership between the Tenancy Relations, Planning, and Council Tax & Benefits teams
  • Sharing how the collaboration was first established in 2018 to build a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) application against landlords who repeatedly ignored prohibition orders and offences under management regulations
  • Sharing how the partnership has been used since to identify rogue landlords and area hotspots, for example by cross-referencing housing benefits with properties licensed as houses in multiple occupation (HMO)
  • Highlighting the governance implications of this partnership, including the need for regular collaborative meetings and a proactive rather than a reactive response

Councillor Victoria Mills, Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance & Brexit, Southwark Council (invited)


15:40

Case Study: Planning for the Future - Utilising Technology to Tackle Rogue Landlords

  • Outlining the £93,000 funding bid Barnet Council, in partnership with Regional Enterprise Ltd (Re), has received from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to develop state-of-the-art technologies to combat rogue landlords
  • Analysing the plans for technological advancement, including an app which helps landlords comply with licensing conditions, an app which helps with enforcement inspections, and a new IT system which helps enforcement officers identify Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
  • Highlighting how the partnership between Barnet Council and Capita in the creation of ‘Re’ has allowed for such innovation, underlining Re’s shortlisting for the ‘Innovation’ category at the LGC Awards 2019
  • Mapping progress since the bid announcement in January 2019, including plans to share technologies with other councils

James Armitage,  Re Partnership Director, Barnet Council (CONFIRMED)

Belinda Livesey, Private Sector Housing Manager, Barnet Council (CONFIRMED)


16:00

Case Study: Develop Wide-ranging Plans to Improve the Private Rented Sector

  • Outlining the expansion of the current licensing scheme for HMO landlords so that it covers all 20,000 private rented homes in Oxford
  • Highlighting how this will be enforced by developing a new intelligence-led model which uses an algorithm to identify properties in the private rented sector that are unlicensed
  • Sharing changes to governance to accommodate this, including the decision to take over powers to fine rogue landlords whose properties do not meet the legal minimum energy efficiency standard
  • Analysing the employment of a new lawyer to take on rogue landlords who attempt to dodge fines for failing to meet the minimum safety and energy efficiency standards

Paul Leo, Interim Director of Housing, Oxford City Council (invited)


16:20

Questions and Answers Session


16:35

Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change


According to the Office of National Statistics, 20% of all households are privately rented. While most landlords make sure their properties are fit for habitation, there is a small but resistant minority who flagrantly flout the law and endanger the lives of tenants and communities. In 2018, the government estimated that there are 10,500 rogue landlords are operating across the UK. In January 2020, the government awarded over 100 councils a share of over £4 million to tackle this issue.

There is a wide range of powers granted to local authorities to act against rogue landlords. Notably, since April 2017, local authorities have the power to impose banning orders, rent repayment orders and financial penalties of up to £30,000 on landlords who consistently breach standards of living. Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, local authorities have also been encouraged to contribute to the Rogue Landlord Database.

Since this landmark publication, the government has also enacted The Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018, which came into force in March 2019, and the Tenancy Fees Act 2019. The Homes Act consolidates the standards of living, making it a legal responsibility for landlords to ensure their properties are free of hazards and provide a safe and healthy environment for tenants. Under the Act, tenants have the right to take action in courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for living. Additionally, The Tenancy Fees Act, which came in to force in June 2019, means that tenancy deposits are capped, and landlords and agents are banned from charging unnecessary fees.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has also released several online guides to support local authorities in implementation. For example, the Rogue Landlord Enforcement guide outlines best practices for identification, review, inspection, action and communication.

Despite the rich legislative landscape and guidance provided by the government, almost 90% of local authorities failed to use new powers to fine rogue landlords. Similarly, according to This is Money, in August 2019 only 12 names had been inputted on the Rogue Landlords Database. It is essential that local authorities act now, using the powers at their disposal to prevent rogue landlords from exploiting tenants and ensure they protect the most vulnerable residents across the UK.

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