From April 6th 2017, some new measures came in to force, giving local authorities more power over landlords. These include civil penalties, rent repayment orders, and the introduction of a database for rogue letting agents and landlords.
Local councils can now issue a maximum £30,000 civil penalty notice per offence.
Civil penalties can be issued for offences in relation to selective licensing under part 3 of the Housing Act 2004; failure to comply with an improvement notice; offences relating to the licensing of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO); contravention of an overcrowding notice; and, failure to comply with management regulations for HMOs.
Councils can retain all this income and use it for private sector housing enforcement.
Rent repayment orders
Local authorities can also apply for up to 12 months’ rent under a rent repayment order for landlords guilty of offences including illegal eviction; failure to comply with improvement notice and / or prohibition order; control or management of unlicensed HMO or house; using violence to secure entry; and, harassment of a property’s occupier.
This strengthening of rent repayment orders means tenants can now take landlords to tribunal to apply for a rent repayment order.
These new measures have been introduced as part of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, in a bid to help local authorities in relation to their dealings with rogue landlords.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has produced a briefing with more information that can be downloaded here.