Date published: 12 March 2018
West Lindsey District Council is consulting on new powers to improve housing standards across the district.
Owners of unfit private rented accommodation could find themselves facing new penalties imposed by the council as an alternative to prosecution.
Council across England were given the authority within the Housing and Planning Act 2016, to impose civil penalties of up to £30,000 for certain Housing Act offences.
These could include financial penalties for failing to comply with an improvement notice or contravention of overcrowding notice which would normally be dealt with by the courts.
This consultation will take place until April 20 and if adopted would apply to only a small number of landlords.
Cllr Sheila Bibb, chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee said: “We recognise that the majority of landlords operate in a legal and professional manner and work to ensure their properties meet the required standards. They will have nothing to fear from this change.
“However, there are irresponsible landlords who poorly manage and maintain property and in some cases knowingly flout the regulations and laws that they are due to abide by.
“The council is committed to improving the housing standards of private rented accommodation for our communities. We want to ensure they are well managed, free from hazards and safe for those individuals, couples and families to live in them, which is why we are considering this action.
“It will allow us to take swift action without the need to take them to court, which can be time consuming and costly. Although we will still consider action through the courts in the most serious cases.”
Within the Housing and Planning Act 2016 the following provisions have been made:
Civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences (came into force on 6 April 2017)
Extension of rent repayment orders to cover illegal eviction, breach of a banning order, failure to comply with an improvement notice and certain other specified offences (came into force on 6 April 2017)
Database of rogue landlords and property agents who have been convicted of certain offences or received multiple civil penalties
Banning orders for the most serious and prolific offenders
In order for the council to issue civil penalties it must have a policy in place.
A draft policy is available on the council’s website for consultation.
To take part in this consultation please read the policy and complete the attached survey by noon on the 20 April 2018 by clicking on the link www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/civilpenalties
Following the consultation, response will be analysed and passed to committee for a decision to be made.
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