Sandwell Council has warned that rogue landlords who let sub-standard homes are likely to be fined up to £30,000 under the council’s new powers.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 has issued local councils with the ability to give penalty charges. Local councillors in Sandwell have warned that they will be taking action in order to provide healthier and safer accommodation across the borough.
Landlords could face fines for their failure to comply with an improvement notice from the council. They could also be fined for failing to licence a house in multiple occupation (HMO). Finally, landlords could also be charged for the contravention of an overcrowding notice, or for breaches of management regulations.
Sandwell Council is taking a hard line on landlords who deliberately avoid fulfilling the responsibilities that are expected of them. Issues such as overcrowding are particularly important to crack down on as they can compromise the safety of tenants in privately rented accommodation. Whilst this is not applicable to all landlords in the sector, a select few are persistent in their negligence, and should be dealt with accordingly.
Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, welcomed the new powers, saying: ‘Whilst the council recognise that the vast majority of our private landlords provide a good standard of accommodation to our residents we also recognise that we have to tackle the issue of rogue landlords. By introducing civil penalties we want to give out the message that the council will protect its residents from anyone looking to make a quick profit from renting a property without fulfilling their responsibilities as a landlord. This will help the council’s desire to ensure all people living in the borough have safe and suitable accommodation to live in.
She added: ‘I am confident that our communities will be safer, better protected and more confident in their homes and neighbourhoods.’