The Residential Landlords Association has backed government plans to clamp down on rogue operators in the sector.
Responding to a government consultation on introducing banning orders for rogue agents and landlords, the RLA warned the rules must be used appropriately and calls for repeat offenders to face prosecution rather than simply be hit with higher fines.
The RLA is also asking that those landlords who find themselves mistakenly subject to an order or included on the ‘rogue’ landlord database should have a formal route to be cleared.
The submission reads: “We hope that the process of banning orders and the ‘rogue’ database will be used in the spirit it is intended to root out criminal landlords operating in the private rental sector.
“It is important that local authorities retain the confidence of the majority of compliant landlords by using the civil penalty regime sensibly.
“It should not be used to punish minor breaches that would previously have been dealt with informally.
“Neither should local authorities look to apply large civil penalties of up to £30,000 where very serious breaches have occurred, as an alternative to prosecution.
“We do not believe that repeat offending should be dealt with by higher penalties. Repeat offending should be dealt with by full prosecution in the magistrates courts in which an unlimited fine is available.”