Issue - meetings

Civil Penalty Notices Powers - Private Sector Housing

Meeting: 11/06/2019 - Executive (Item 5)

5 Civil Penalty Notices Powers - Private Sector Housing pdf icon PDF 75 KB

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The Environmental Health Practitioner for Private Sector Housing presented a report in respect of the proposal to introduce civil penalties for landlords who failed to comply with standards in the private rented sector.  In the Housing and Planning Act 2016 the Government had introduced powers for local authorities to use financial penalties as an alternative to prosecution in cases where landlords did not comply with appropriate standards.  The report detailed proposals in respect of how the powers in this legislation would be implemented and a financial penalty matrix had been developed in consultation with neighbouring local authorities to ensure there was consistency across the region.


The purpose of the civil penalty notices was to reduce the burden placed on local authorities when taking enforcement action against landlords.  The alternative, prosecution through the courts, was time consuming and resource intensive.  Civil penalty notices would only be issued in exceptional circumstances.  Prior to issuing a civil penalty notice, Officers would present a letter of intent to the landlord which would provide landlords with notice that the Council would issue a civil penalty notice unless s/he took specific action.  This action would only be taken by an officer following consultation with his/her manager.  Once a civil penalty notice had been issued the landlord would be required to pay a fine.  The maximum fine that could be paid would be £30,000, though the level of the fine would be determined on a case by case basis.  The landlord would have the right to appeal, to The First Tier tribunal. Landlords would be required to pay the fine within a certain period of time and if they failed to do so the Council could take action to recover the debt, including placing a charge on the property and the enforced sale of the property, where the debt was significant. 


Following the presentation of the report Members discussed a number of points in detail:


·                The need for the Council to demonstrate that it was serious about taking enforcement action against landlords who did not comply with standards.  Once a few civil penalty notices had been issued by the Council it was likely that this would raise the profile of the process with local landlords.

·                The number of properties in the private rented sector in the Borough of Redditch.  Members were informed that there were 4,000 properties in the private rented sector.

·                The extent to which civil penalty notices were likely to be issued in relation to local landlords.  Members were advised that the majority of landlords in the private rented sector were fully compliant and it was likely that civil penalty notices would only need to be issued in relation to a small number of landlords.

·                The number of landlords who had been prosecuted  by the Council in the last year.  Members were advised that two landlords had been  prosecuted .

·                The potential for enforcement action to be taken in respect of the standard of a property both inside and outside, as Members noted that sometimes  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5