Richmondshire District Council considers £30,000 fines for rogue landlords

Richmondshire District Council offices at Mercury House.

Richmondshire District Council looks set to adopt powers to fine rogue landlords up to £30,000.

The council’s licensing committee will consider imposing civil penalties as an alternative to prosecution for certain housing related offences and extending the scope of rent repayment orders.

The move follows changes introduced by the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
A report to the committee states when the powers were introduced last year the Government made it clear they were to be used “robustly as a way of dealing with rogue landlords”.

The report states the purpose of the Act is to give Local Authorities alternative enforcement options to issue penalty notices for non-compliance rather than taking a prosecution in court, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Historically, the council has managed problems over the state of private sector accommodation through negotiation with landlords rather than opting for prosecution.

The officers’ report states: “In the overwhelming majority of cases the council has no need to intervene in relation to housing conditions in the private rented sector and matters are resolved between the tenant, landlord or lettings agent.

“However, in a small number of cases action may need to be taken by the council which can result in service of a formal notice or undertaking works in default or prosecution of landlords.”

Officers said the proposed introduction of civil penalties was not intended to increase enforcement actions, but to allow a greater range of enforcement tools.