Thanet District Council’s Cabinet approved a new policy on Thursday 14 March 2019, which means rogue landlords are set to face penalties of up to £30,000 if they commit certain housing offences on or after 1 April 2019.
As the local housing authority, the council has a statutory duty to take action to improve unsafe private sector homes in Thanet. The council takes this responsibility very seriously and undertakes a range of enforcement activities to help protect residents’ health, safety and well-being.
When in the public interest, it is sometimes appropriate for the council to prosecute those who contravene housing law in the criminal courts. However, owing to recent legislative changes, the council now has the power to impose a financial penalty 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.
The council’s policy sets out when a financial penalty will be imposed and how much that penalty will be in each case. Factors such as culpability, track record and risk of harm will contribute to the level of penalty imposed for each offence.
Unlike prosecutions, where the fines imposed are collected by the courts on behalf of the Treasury, the council is entitled to retain all monies collected from financial penalties, provided that they are used to fund private sector housing enforcement activities.
Bob Porter, Head of Housing and Planning, said: “The council has long been proactive in tackling poor housing conditions and rogue landlords. This new power will enhance our enforcement capabilities and make it harder for those who flout the law to operate in Thanet. A safe home is a basic right and we will use all the powers at our disposal to ensure we protect our residents”.