Section 9 – Power to obtain information
15.Section 9 inserts new section 97A into the 2004 Act. Section 97A details powers for a local authority to obtain information to enable or assist it to carry out its functions under Part 8. This information can be obtained from various specified persons. The local authority can serve a notice requiring such a person to provide information on the nature of their interest in the house; specified information about other people with an interest in the house or who act in relation to a lease or occupancy arrangement; and such other information about the house or such a person as can be reasonably requested. To help local authorities identify unregistered landlords, the Act contains a power for local authorities to require a letting agent to provide information in relation to any house in the area in relation to which the agent acts, including the address of the house and the name and address of the owner.
16.Section 9 also outlines the methods a local authority must use to advise the person that they are required to provide information, which may include electronic service. Any person who is required to provide such information and fails to do so, or knowingly or recklessly provides false or misleading information, is guilty of an offence with a fine on summary conviction not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale.