New rules in force from 6th April 2017 will help crackdown on rogue landlords that flout the rules and improve safety and affordability for renters.
Announcing the measures, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell confirmed the powers will give local authorities the tools to crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords who shirk their responsibilities.
Councils are now able to impose fines of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for a range of housing offences. They will be able to retain all of the income to make sure it is used for private sector housing enforcement purposes.
Rent repayment orders, which can be issued to penalise landlords managing or letting unlicensed properties, have also been extended to cover a wider range of situations. These include the illegal evictions or harassment of the occupiers of a property, using violence to secure entry and the breach of a banning order.
Keith Parr, Partner at BSG Solicitors commented:
“Whilst we recognise the importance of tackling the issue of rogue landlords, it’s also worth remembering that the vast majority of landlords in the private rental sector do take their obligations seriously. The extension of rent repayment orders to cover illegal eviction is significant as any landlord not issuing the correct eviction notice or following the prescribed steps could face a large fine.”
Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell said:
“These measures will give councils the additional powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area. By driving out of business those rogue landlords that continue to flout the rules, we can raise standards, improve affordability and give tenants the protections they need.”