Bad Landlords Beware: Sunderland City Council looks set to adopt extra powers over rogue landlords
Bad landlords could be set to face fixed penalty and civil penalty notices imposed by the council.
These powers will act as alternatives to court prosecutions and civil penalties of up to £30,000 could be enforced. These would be levied if a landlord fails to comply with an improvement or overcrowding notice, or fails management regulations for houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs).
A maximum fine of £5,000 may be issued for failing to meet the terms of smoke and carbon monoxide regulations. New powers are to be considered at the council's next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday July 18.
Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, the City Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: "The private rented sector continues to grow and now represents about a quarter of all our city's housing.
While much of this housing is in good condition and well managed, the conditions in some of the private sector tend to be less satisfactory than in others.
The council has a legal duty to deal with unsatisfactory housing that presents health and safety hazards to the occupiers.
I shall be urging my colleagues to agree to the recommendation and that we adopt these powers."
Landlords could face sanctions and court action if they are endangering tenants or have property where there is anti-social behaviour or that is unlicensed and poorly managed.
Councillor Rebecca Atkinson added: "If problems in the standards and conditions of private housing come to the attention of the council, then the council can inspect a property. The council can then issue an improvement notice and the landlord has a legal duty to comply the notice.
For example, a property might not always have reasonable heating, washing or cooking facilities and that is not acceptable.
If the landlord does not comply a notice of improvement, then the council could exercise more of its enforcement powers and the landlord can face tougher and tougher penalties.
I must stress this is not about all landlords, it is about a small number who are very much a minority."
There are approximately 33,800 private sector rented homes in Sunderland.