Clause 27 - Offences

Part of Renters (Reform) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:45 am ar 28 Tachwedd 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jacob Young Jacob Young Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 9:45, 28 Tachwedd 2023

Clause 27 sets out when a person will be liable for a criminal offence under the redress clauses. The provisions cover landlords who repeatedly fail to sign up with the ombudsman and persons of business who repeatedly market the property of an unregistered landlord. They will specifically include those who breach the same regulations after a previous conviction or who have received a financial penalty for breaching the regulations within the previous five years. These offences will not carry a custodial sentence, but can be subject to an unlimited fine.

Government amendments 65 and 68 and Government new clause 19 will amend existing housing regulations in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 so that, in the most extreme cases, local councils can ban landlords who have been successfully prosecuted under the redress provisions. Tenants and councils will be able to apply to the first-tier tribunal for rent repayment orders against landlords convicted of failing to join the ombudsman. Landlords who refuse to join cannot be legally bound by its decisions. Allowing rent repayment orders will make sure that tenants are entitled to some recompense, regardless of whether a landlord follows the rules or not.

I thank the hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich for tabling new clause 57, which would allow rent repayment orders to be made against landlords for less serious, non-criminal breaches of the Bill and for some of the new tenancy reform offences. We tabled new clause 21 to increase the maximum amount that a landlord may have to pay under a rent repayment order from 12 months to two years of the rent paid by tenants. New clause 57 would therefore mean that, for example, a landlord who failed to be a member of a redress scheme could be ordered to pay up to two years-worth of rent. We think that would be disproportionate. We will debate new clause 21 fully when we reach clause 67. I therefore ask the hon. Member not to press his new clause.