Fay Toole of Solihull Residential Lettings notes that new legislation comes into force today.
Local authorities in England tough new powers to crack down on rogue agents and landlords.
They will be able to impose a civil penalty of up to £30,000 for a range of housing offences, including
- Failure to comply with a housing improvement or overcrowding notice;
- Failure to have the correct license for a property that needs a mandatory HMO
- Failure to comply with the HMO management regulations.
Both landlords and letting agents can be held liable for any breach
Before imposing penalties, local authorities must have regard to government guidance, issue a notice of intent and invite representations. There is also an appeals process.
The Government has also expanded the Rent Repayment Order provisions that enable the local authority or tenant to claim back up to 12 months’ rent.
From today as a sanction for a wider range of offences including:
- Illegal eviction
- Harassment of occupiers;
- Using violence to secure entry
- Failure to comply with a housing improvement notice or prohibition order.
Tenants will now be able to submit a claim without the local authority having prosecuted the agent or landlord, and the local authorities have the power to assist them.