housing & housing services
local government
2

4th Annual Tackling Rogue Landlords Forum

housing & housing services

local government

08:45 - 15:20

Wednesday 15 May 2019

America Square Conference Centre, Central London

This Forum provides participants with an excellent opportunity to examine successful methods of tackling rogue landlords and improving housing standards across the private rents sector. Attendees will be updated on the impact of the powers and measures created to tackle rogue landlords from the 2016 Housing and Planning Act, as well as how to effectively engage with tenants to improving housing standards. In addition, best practice practitioners will share guidance on how to clamp down on rogue landlords through robust enforcement, working in partnerships and using selective licensing schemes.

Audience

The Forum is specifically designed for Local Authorities. 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
  • 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 Housing, Voluntary and Private Sectors to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Senior Representative, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
  • Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer, National Landlords Association
  • Lydia Volans, Senior Projects Officer – Housing & Land, Greater London Authority
View the agenda and additional speakers

08:45

Registration, Refreshments, and Networking


09:40

Chair's Welcome Address

Silviya Barrett, Research Manager, Centre for London (CONFIRMED)


09:50

An Interview With MHCLG: The Next Steps in Tackling Rogue Landlords

Questions from the chair and attendees, topics to include:

  • Turing policy into practice: How can local councils utilise changes in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to tackle rogue landlords?
  • Discussing the new online guide for local authority enforcement officers and how this will help tackle rogue landlords
  • Examining the use of banning orders and civil penalties to tackle substandard practice by landlords and letting agents
  • Highlighting the impact the national database for rogue landlords and Rent Repayment Orders has had on tackling rogue landlords since their introduction in April 2018
  • What are the government’s next steps to further support local councils to crack down on rogue landlords?

Senior Representative, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) (CONFIRMED)


10:20

Refreshments and Networking


10:40

Case Study: Tackling Rogue Landlords By Establishing Property Licensing Schemes (Selective and Additional)

  • Examining how Coventry Council is working to establish property licensing schemes, which requires landlords to demonstrate their compliance to effectively manage a property and ensure a high standard of living;
  • Outlining how the council plans to embed the property licensing conditions into their housing inspection programme, including follow-up actions by a multi-agency team;
  • Assessing the impact property licensing schemes will have on tackling rogue landlords and improving the quality of properties, such as educating tenants to recognise when properties are of sub-standard condition and what options are available to them
  • Highlighting the importance of ensuring transparency when investigating housing offences and utilising property licensing schemes as an enforcement tool

Adrian Chowns, Property Licensing Manager, Coventry City Council (CONFIRMED)


11:10

Case Study: Establishing a Successful Business Case to Tackling Rogue Landlords

  • Outlining how the Northampton Borough Council effectively created a successful business case to fund and develop a robust enforcement team, including how this resulted in a more consistent use of civil penalties as an enforcement tool
  • Examining how the council ensured that the business case covered improving standards in the private rented sector, homes are free of unacceptable hazards and expanding the enforcement team
  • Sharing guidance on how councils can correctly gather and present evidence to successfully back up and prove their civil penalty business case
  • Highlighting the key issues, risks and opportunities that councils need to consider when creating a successful business case to tackle rogue landlords

Debi Waite, Private Sector Housing Manager, Northampton Borough Council (CONFIRMED)


11:40

Questions and Answers Session


12:00

Lunch and Networking


13:00

Afternoon Keynote: Supporting Landlords Across the Private Rented Sector to Raise Housing Standards

  • 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 recent government action taken to tackle ‘rogue’ landlords, including local authority civil penalties, the Rogue Landlord Database and Banning Orders
  • Why licensing schemes are often ineffective at tackling criminal behaviour in the private rented sector, and the value of local authorities building more positive relationships with their landlord community
  • The need for stronger enforcement to ensure that criminal landlords are driven out of the sector

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer, National Landlords Association (CONFIRMED)


13:20

Special Keynote: Supporting Safe Access and Tackling Rogue Landlords across London’s Private Rented Sector

  • Outlining the overall impact the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker has had nearly one year since its introduction
  • Examining the impact of an online Reporting Tool to make it easier for tenants to report a rogue landlord or letting agent
  • The role of the Mayor’s Private Rented Sector Partnership in supporting London councils to improve enforcement

Lydia Volans, Senior Projects Officer – Housing & Land, Greater London Authority (CONFIRMED)


13:40

Case Study: Working in Partnership to Raise Housing Standards and Tackle Rogue Landlords

  • Outlining how Luton Borough Council established their Rogue Landlord Project, which aims to support residents and tackle rogue landlords by working partnership with local stakeholders
  • Sharing guidance on how councils can work in partnership with emergency services and citizens advice services to combat the problem of rogue landlords as part of an effective enforcement policy
  • Creating an intelligence led approach to target and find rogue landlords and stop ‘beds in sheds’ being used as living accommodation without relevant permissions
  • Outlining Luton Borough Council’s approach to prosecutions – powers used etc
  • Highlighting how the council successfully utilised Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) powers against a private sector landlord, resulting in the landlord being fined nearly £30,000

Dave Stevenson, Strategic Regulatory Manager – Public Protection, Luton Borough Council (CONFIRMED)


14:00

Questions and Answers Session


14:20

Refreshments and Networking


14:40

Panel Session: Addressing the Challenges and Sharing Ideas to Effectively Tackle Rogue Landlords

  • Assessing the major challenges councils face when tackling rogue landlords, such as a lack of council recourses to tackle the issue and complex regulation of lettings agents
  • Debating reasons why 89% of councils in England and Wales have decided to not use the powers granted to issue civil penalties or Improvement Notices and instead prefer to use licensing schemes
  • Examining potential solutions councils can utilise to further tackle rogue landlords, including building relationships with external organisations such as the emergency services, legal services and local housing advocates, as well as utilising Criminal Behaviour and Empty Dwelling Management Orders

Silviya Barrett, Research Manager, Centre for London (CONFIRMED)

Dan Craw, Director, Generation Rent (CONFIRMED)

Councillor Tracey Hill, Deputy Chair – Housing & New Homes Committee, Brighton and Hove City Council (CONFIRMED)

Dave Stevenson, Strategic Regulatory Manager – Public Protection, Luton Borough Council (CONFIRMED)


15:20

Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change


According to the November 2018 investigation by The Guardian and ITV, almost 90% of local authorities failed to use new powers to fine rogue landlords in 2017. Furthermore, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) stated that only 11% of local authorities issued a civil penalty notice against a landlord or letting agent across 2017-18.

These new powers were first implemented by the government in April 2017, as part of the Housing and Planning Act 2016. They allow councils to wield civil penalties of up to £30,000 and Rent Repayment Orders as a tool to reprimand offending landlords. Local authority powers were further extended in March 2018, to tackle the issue of overcrowding across the private rented sector. Limits on bedroom size and the number of people living in each bedroom of a multiple occupancy home came into effect. Finally, to boost market and renter confidence the government established a national database of rogue landlords and letting agents convicted of offences to support prospective tenants. Furthermore, to build on these powers and ensure high-quality living standards the government introduced requirements that landlords install energy efficiency measures in homes with the lowest energy performance ratings in November 2018. This will help residents to save money, tackle rogue landlords and drive up health and safety standards across the Private Rented Sector. At the same time, in January 2019 the Government distributed £2.4 million worth of funding to over 50 council to increase action against irresponsible landlords, examples of programmed created included training programmes and creating a multi-agency enforcement team.

Furthermore, in April 2019 The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government released two new online guides to support local authorities. One was designed for enforcement practitioners which includes online learning modules for officers who were unable to attend the national programme, with the other guide being focused on tenants and landlords, providing support and links to in depth guidance on legislation.

It is vital that the housing sector and local councils come together to tackle unacceptable standards of housing and drive improvements in living standards across the private rented sector. To achieve this councils must use all powers at their disposal, such as banning and rent repayment orders, to prevent rogue landlords from exploiting tenants and protect the most vulnerable residents across the UK.

Dave Stevenson, Strategic Regulatory Manager – Public Protection, Luton Borough Council

Qualified as an Environmental Health Officer in 1981, spent 6 months doing Health & Safety work before focussing on Housing, as a district officer enforcing public health and housing standards in the private sector. Gained a management role in the 90s delivering a successful Disabled Facilities Grant programme and other forms of Housing Assistance, before additionally assuming responsibility for Private Sector Housing Enforcement and introducing an Additional Licensing Scheme.  More recently, in February 2018, I have relinquished the housing assistance function and now manage a combined enforcement unit dealing with Private Sector Housing Enforcement, Food & Safety, Trading Standards, Environmental Protection and Environmental Enforcement

Adrian Chowns, Property Licensing Manager, Coventry City Council

Adrian Chowns is a qualified Building Surveyor who also holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Health and is currently working as the Property Licensing Manager for Coventry City Council where he manages the Council`s Housing Enforcement and Property Licensing Teams.

Adrian is a specialist housing professional with over 25 years’ experience in dealing with private sector housing matters. He is proficient in enforcing conditions in the PRS and has ran a number of property licensing schemes.Adrian has also sat on a number of Government led working groups and regularly provides talks at conferences and events about private sector housing initiatives and enforcement.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer, National Landlords Association

Richard Lambert joined the National Landlords Association as Chief Executive Officer in October 2011. He began his career as a parliamentary civil servant in the House of Commons, where over 10 years he worked on Select Committees, various aspects of the legislative process and interparliamentary affairs. Following a brief spell in commercial lobbying, he moved into trade associations, spending five years as the Policy Director covering residential issues at the British Property Federation, then becoming Chief Executive of the British Woodworking Federation in 2002. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a former Chairman of the National Training Organisation, Housing Potential.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) is the UK’s leading organisation for private-residential landlords, with 40,000 members. These range from full-time landlords with large property portfolios to those with just a single letting. It currently employs over 30 full-time staff and has a network of regional representatives and branches throughout the UK.

NLA membership helps landlords make a success of their lettings business by providing a wide range of information, advice and services. The association campaigns for the legitimate interests of landlords and encourages a fair and balanced private-rented sector by seeking to influence all levels of government and making landlords’ collective voice heard in the media. It seeks to raise standards in the sector while aiming to ensure that landlords are aware of their statutory rights and responsibilities.

Lydia Volans, Senior Projects Officer - Housing & Land, Greater London Authority

Lydia is a Senior Project Officer in the Private Rented Sector team at the Greater London Authority, working to support tangible improvements in the rental sector to improve the lives of London’s private tenants. Lydia leads on key Mayoral programmes including the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker and the London Boroughs Private Rented Sector Partnership.

Silviya Barrett, Research Manager, Centre for London

Silviya joined Centre for London in August 2016 and currently heads up the Transport and Environment research programme. Since joining, she has authored reports on cross-borough collaboration in increasing affordable housing supply, managing the conflicting pressures on our roads and streets, and supporting young Londoners’ aspirations.

Prior to Centre for London, Silviya worked at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where she managed the research and survey programme and authored reports on various topics affecting London businesses. These included reports on the business impact of housing under supply and construction skill shortages in London.

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