Lincolnshire landlords who fail to provide appropriate living standards in their rental properties could now be subject to fines of up to £30,000.
Newly approved legislation means that councils are now able to issue civil penalities to rogue landlords who risk the safety of their tenants by flouting housing regulation. East Lindsey District Council receives more than 200 complaints a year from tenants living in substandard accommodation. This has led to them issuing around 45 improvement notices to Lincolnshire landlords over the last three years.
The issues discovered by the council can range from a lack of fire safety precautions to cold and draughty properties, as well as those with damp and mould. Many landlords also fail to carry out the appropriate safety checks on gas appliances.
Previously, the East Lindsey District Council was only able to tackle rogue landlords through a lengthy court process. However, the legislator changes have rendered it possible to combat landlord behavior far more quickly. The penalties can be issued for offences ranging from the failure to comply with an improvement notice to offences relating to the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation. Overcrowding in properties and the breaching of management regulation can also land landlords in hot water. The maximum fine that can be imposed is £30,000.
Portfolio holder for communities, Councillor Wendy Bowkett, commented: ‘The additional powers will provide more flexibility in how the council is able to resolve issues with landlords. Whilst the vast majority of landlords in our area are very good there are some who fail to maintain acceptable standards and in some cases have been found to have put the lives of tenants at risk by not undertaking necessary works to maintain properties. Taking a prosecution to court can be a lengthy process, so these new powers are a welcome tool and promoting the fact we will use the civil penalty where necessary should send a strong message to those landlords who don’t abide by the rules.’