A PRS landlord's spent convictions can be taken into account in banning order applications says UTT

Judge Gavel With Justice Lawyers 2021 08 29 01 06 00 Utc

The Upper Tier Tribunal has dismissed a private landlord's appeal against a banning order imposed by the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) on behalf the London Borough of Newham Council.

The FTT had taken into account the spent convictions of the landlord for the offences committed which led to the banning order application when it imposed a 3 year banning order on the landlord.

The landlord had committed the offences in 2018 and these included operating an unlicensed rental property along breaches of with fire safety regulations, not dealing with black mould and other offences that made the property unsafe.

Both the FTT and the UTT considered the government non-statutory guidelines on using spent convictions as evidence - "Banning Order Offences under the Housing and Planning Act 2016" - along with the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 both of which, on the surface, suggested that the spent convictions in this case shouldn't have been used in evidence in support of the banning order application.

However, both the FTT and the UTT concluded that the convictions could be used in this case. Judge Elizabeth Cooke, in the UTT, said that the FTT was not bound by the non-statutory guidance but by the "will of Parliament expressed in statute" and that Parliament could have said that only unspent convictions were relevant in such a case "but chose not to do so."

In addition, it was pointed out that the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act meant that spent convictions are inadmissible unless a court is persuaded that justice can't be done unless such evidence is admitted. Thus the seriousness of this case meant that the FTT was entitled to admit the unspent convictions in this case.

This case has been reported on, with links to the UTT case report, statutes and case law precedent, in LocalGovernmentLawyer and is useful for all Local Authorities considering making private rented sector landlord banning order applications.

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