Worcester City Council is set to target rogue landlords after being given new enforcement powers to do so.
The new powers introduced under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 has made the council in Worcester consider the level of penalty fines which could be applied to curb the activities of bad landlords in the area.
Worcester councillors will be voting on whether to introduce the suggested civil penalty charges when the authority’s new communities committee meets for the first time on June 20, with the maximum proposed fine being £30,000.
If the suggested new penalties are agreed, the fines could be issued to landlords who have breached health and safety law by various means. Failing to comply with an improvement notice, failing to obtain a licence to run a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), or failing to comply with management regulations about how HMOs should be run – such as maintaining fire alarms and extinguishers.
Councillor Mike Johnson, chairman of the committee, said: ‘We want to support good landlords who provide decent, well-maintained homes. However if introduced, these new powers would strengthen our hand to crack down on rogue landlords who knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation, and care little about the standards of service they offer to tenants.’
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 also gives tenants the right to go to a tribunal to force their landlord to repay some of their rent, in certain circumstances.
These could be various circumstances, such as when a landlord fails to comply with a prohibition order – stating that a property or part of it cannot be occupied because the building condition presents a serious safety risk to people living there – or where a landlord has harassed tenants or used violence to secure entry to a property.
The housing act also proposes setting up a database of rogue landlords and property letting agents set up in England, and introduce tighter regulation to ensure that a qualified person has checked electrical safety standards in all private rented properties.