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Doncaster Council’s Cabinet has new ways to tackle rogue investors in the buy to let sector, in order to further regulate the sector in the area.
A proposal has been launched to introduce civil penalties that permit the council to issue a higher financial penalty for rogue landlords who are found to be negligent in the management of their properties and making their tenants unhappy.
The proposal will allow the council to decide on the amount of the penalty. It can be up to £30,000. From 2017 onwards, it possible for civil penalties to be imposed by councils, as an alternative to prosecution. This is for offences under the Housing Act 2004. Such offences include failure to comply with a Housing Improvement Notice and failure to comply with an Overcrowding Notice.
The fines will have the dual purpose of raising extra funds for the local authority whilst also acting as a further deterrent for rogue landlords. This is due to the fact that they are significantly higher than the current fines issued by Magistrates Courts.
Doncaster Council has stated that it will keep the income from civil penalties. These would be used for the continuation of enforcement work in the private rental sector.
It is still possible for landlords and agents to be referred for prosecution by the council. The council will also still be able to make an application for a banning order in cases which are recurring issues.
Cabinet member for communities, the Voluntary Sector and Environment, Councillor Chris McGuinness, said: ‘The vast majority of landlords in Doncaster manage their properties well but there are a number of rogue landlords and unscrupulous letting agents who flaunt their legal requirements for financial gain. We want to clamp down on this and imposing significantly higher financial penalties can act as a strong deterrent to those who think they can take advantage of their tenants.’