The Housing and Planning Act includes provisions to have rent repayment orders awarded against landlords for certain offences. Therefore, from 6 April 2017 a tenant or the local authority (if they have been paying benefits) will be able to claim a rent repayment order if the landlord is guilty of certain offences (note they don't necessarily have to be convicted of the offence). Whilst these offences include unlawful eviction, using violence to gain entry and operating an HMO without a licence, it also includes failure to comply with an HHSRS improvement notice or prohibition order.
The First tier Tribunal can award up the the previous 12 months rent to be repaid. If the landlord has been convicted of the offence then the tribunal must award the maximum repayment but can choose a lower figure if there is no conviction.
In addition to the rent repayment orders the commencement order brings in fixed penalties as an alternative to a full prosecution. The list of offences for which a fixed penalty notice can be used are listed in schedule 9 of the Housing and Planning Act. The penalty offered must not exceed £30,000!
Also commenced is a small change to deposit information in the Housing Act 2004. A new section 212A which requires all deposit schemes to provide information to local authorities to enable them to carry out their functions under parts 1-4 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016.