29.11.19

Council to use civil powers to ‘crack down’ on rogue landlords

Private sector landlords who commit certain housing offences in Leicester will soon be dealt with my civil enforcement powers.

From January 1 2020, Leicester City Council plans to issue fixed penalty notices, or fines to landlords or organisations who commit housing offences.

This is instead of pursuing a lengthier and more expensive prosecution through the courts, spending more time and money on the matter.

It comes after a public consultation earlier in the year, during which 86% of tenants, landlords and members of the public though the measures were fair and reasonable.

This scheme aims to improve the council’s ability to control the standards of private rented accommodation across the city.

According to the Housing and Planning Act 2016, the city council is able to issue financial penalties up to £30,000, instead of prosecution for certain offences.

Offences that would fall into the civil law category include, failing to comply with improvement notices, licencing of House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), ignoring an overcrowding notice and breaching management regulations for HMOs. More serious offences will still be dealt with through criminal law.

The decision has been made ahead of the early 2020 launch of a formal consultation into the introduction of separate scheme of selective licensing for landlords in areas with high levels of rented housing.

The launch will be aimed at areas where landlords have not tackled ongoing anti-social behaviour, or with high crime or deprivation.

Leicester assistant city mayor for housing and education, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said:

“Councils have these civil enforcement powers to deal with certain housing offences by way of fixed penalty notices, rather than going through the courts.

“By adopting this approach, we hope to deter landlords from flouting the law, and will be better equipped to crack down on rogue landlords more easily, and protect the rights of tenants in the process.

“Government legislation already allows us to do this, but the consultation carried out this year showed people in the city approved of us taking this course of action, which strengthens the council’s abilities to tackle rogue landlords and those who fail to safeguard their tenants properly, ahead of the launch of the consultation into the use of selective licensing for landlords in the new year.”

 

Photo: Leicester City Council 

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