From the 6 April 2017 the government has now confirmed that landlords can be issued with new civil penalty notices for housing breaches.
Local authorities can implement fines of up to £30 000 for a range of offences, under the Housing Act 2004 including failing to comply with an improvement notice served by the council and breaches of house with multiple occupancy licensing, management, selective licensing and overcrowding rules.
Landlords will be given notice of intent to serve penalty and 28 days to make representation. The council then makes a decision as to whether to impose a penalty, after which the landlord has 28 days to pay or appeal to the first-tier-tribunal.
Alongside the introduction of the new civil penalties Rent Repayment Orders will be extended from the same date. These orders – which already exist – allow a tenant or local authority to reclaim rent or housing benefit where a landlord rents out an unlicensed property such as a house with multiple occupancy.
Under the new government plans this will be extended to cover illegal eviction, breach of a banning order or failure to comply with a statutory notice. The introduction of civil penalties and the extension of Rent Repayment Orders are just the first of a series of steps designed to tackle criminal landlords. In October 2017, banning orders will be introduced – which could see landlords barred from letting or managing a property indefinitely.
So, private landlords, get your tool belt on, time to fix your properties and give your tenants what they deserve and are paying for.