Harlow Council in Essex aims to take a harder line with private landlords by introducing civil penalties as an alternative to prosecution.
It will carry out a four-week public consultation on a new private rented sector housing enforcement policy that outlines how the council will tackle poor private housing conditions and address non-compliance with legislation. The new policy will replace the current one which was adopted 20 years ago.
The policy incorporates additional civic penalty powers and sets out the maximum levels of fines the council could impose for non-compliance, including up to £30,000 for failure to comply with legislation such as electrical safety standards.
Harlow aims to assess local housing conditions including damp and mould, reduce the number of properties with serious risks to health and safety, improve energy efficiency and warmth in homes and improve standards. The new policy does not place any extra obligations on landlords who are already compliant.
Councillor Nicola Purse (pictured), cabinet portfolio holder for environment and sustainability, says nearly a quarter of homes in Harlow are in the private rented sector.
“We want to support the good landlords who play by the rules and provide decent, well-maintained homes,” she explains.
“But we will act with full force against those rogue landlords, letting agents and property managers who knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation.
"This proposed policy will allow us to take a harder line and impose stricter penalties, so our residents who privately rent don’t have to accept living in poor quality homes.”
The consultation runs until 10th November.