The Government has introduced legislation that gives the council the option to impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for certain housing offences. These new powers were introduced to help local authorities take more enforcement action against rogue landlords.
Local authorities are entitled to retain any monies collected, provided they are used to fund private sector housing enforcement functions. However, before any financial penalties can be issued, statutory guidance requires the council to develop and document a policy which sets out when it should prosecute and when it should impose a financial penalty, and the level of financial penalty it should impose in each case.
On 14 March 2019, the council’s Cabinet adopted a new policy that allows the council to impose such penalties for offences that occur on or after 01 April 2019. The offences for which a financial penalty can be imposed are:
- Failing to comply with an Improvement Notice;
- Failing to licence a house in multiple occupation (“HMO”):
- Knowingly permitting the over-occupation of a licensed HMO;
- Failing to comply with the condition of an HMO licence;
- Failing to licence a house subject to selective licensing;
- Failing to comply with the condition of a selective licence;
- Failing to comply with an overcrowding notice in respect of a non-licensable HMO;
- Failing to comply with HMO management regulations; and
- Breaching a banning order.
If you would like further information about the policy, please contact our Private Sector Housing Team on 01843 577437 and speak to one of our officers. We can also be contacted by email on: email@example.com.