Rogue landlords in Newham face fines of up to £30,000
- Credit: Archant
Rogue landlords who exploit and endanger Newham residents could face fines of up to £30,000 under new powers passed by the council.
The local authority can now take direct enforcement action against criminal landlords after cabinet agreed to pass the tools available to them under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 last night.
This means that instead of having to wait months for expensive cases to progress to court, the council can levy significant civil penalties without the need for criminal prosecution proceedings.
Landlords who fail to repair, manage or improve their properties when required to do will be at risk of the fines.
Rent Repayment Orders (RRO), introduced under the Housing Act 2004 to recover Housing Benefit/Universal Credit, will also be extended to include instances where a criminal landlord has used violence to secure entry.
Landlords who have illegally evicted or harassed tenants, or not complied with improvement notices or Prohibition Orders will be targeted too.
The new powers will introduce banning orders for the worst criminal landlords who could face imprisonment and a fine if they don’t comply.
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The same individuals will be added to a new national Rogue Landlords Database to stop them operating anywhere in Englad.
With the new powers, the council will be able to keep monies collected in fines and reinvest this into its private renting housing teams.
Since the launch of its borough-wide licensing scheme in 2013, the private rented sector enforcement team has helped make 1,072 prosecutions against criminal landlords.
It has also issued 415 cautions and reclaimed nearly £2.5million in unpaid council tax.
Newhan Council accounted for 70 per cent of prosecutions in the capital during 2015/6 under the 2004 Housing Act.
Welcoming the news, Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, said: “Landlords who rip-off and endanger their tenants should never be allowed to operate.
“Newham has led the way in tackling rogue landlords and these new penalties will help us build on the success of our borough-wide licensing scheme in uncovering criminal landlords, protecting tenants and driving up standards across Newham’s private rented sector.”