The leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Cllr Rob Waltham welcomes new powers brought in by the government to tackle rogue landlords.
Under new regulations that started on 6 April 2018, rogue landlords who rent out substandard properties face being forced out of the sector with the use of banning orders and a national database of offenders, which local authorities will use.
Landlords convicted of a range of housing, immigration and other criminal offences such as leasing overcrowded properties, fire and gas safety offences and unlawful eviction, will be put on the new database so councils can share information between themselves and keep a closer eye on those with a poor track record.
Landlords convicted of offences under the government’s new law may also be given banning orders preventing them from leasing accommodation for a period of time, ranging from 12 months to life. Councils must record details of any landlord or property agent who has received a banning order on the database.
Since 2017, local housing authorities have been able to use civil penalty notices (CPN) to deal with certain Housing Act offences instead of prosecution. Such offences include non-compliance with an Improvement Notice and failure to license a property under any of the licensing schemes within the Housing Act 2004.
There is no minimum penalty but the maximum has been set at £30,000. When making a decision on the level of the CPN, the council must take into account the following things:
Severity of the offence
Culpability and track record of the offender
The harm caused to the tenant
Punishment of the offender
Deter the offender from repeating the offence
Deter others from committing similar offences
Remove any financial benefit the offender may have obtained as a result of committing the offence
The CPN procedure to deal with rogue landlords, which has been drafted for use in North Lincolnshire is in line with other local authorities across the Yorkshire and Humber region and in line with government guidelines. It is an operating procedure, not a policy, as every case needs to be considered on its own merits and judged accordingly.
Councillor Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council fully supports the new powers the government has brought in, he said: “This means we have even more control to be able to deal with rogue landlords in North Lincolnshire.
“The majority of landlords provide good quality, well managed properties. It is the minority of landlords that do not follow the rules and engage in criminal activity. We will take enforcement action against these landlords.
“Each case will be dealt with on an individual basis depending on the situation. In some cases a civil penalty notice is more appropriate than prosecution. For those who continue to flout the law, we now have the power to take further action with the new banning orders. This will be for the most severe offenders.
“Landlords should ensure they comply with the law at all times and provide a safe and decent place for people to live.”