Rogue landlords face £30,000 fines if they break rules which keep tenants safe and well

Rogue landlords could be fined up to £30,000 for failing to improve living conditions for tenants under new council powers which have now got the go-ahead.

By Chris Binding
Friday, 21 June, 2019, 18:01
Picture c/o Pixabay

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet approved a new ‘Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy’ on June 18.

They will be levied if a landlord fails to comply with improvement or overcrowding notices or for poor management of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

A maximum fine of £5,000 could also be issued for breaching smoke and carbon monoxide regulations.

Cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration, Coun Rebecca Atkinson, revealed the plans to cabinet.

“Private sector housing plays a significant role in the city’s housing provision, making up 26% of the stock,” she said.

“It is important therefore to ensure that housing is safe and free from hazards to residents.

“The policy draws together existing and new powers available to regulate landlords and managing agents in one document.”

The meeting heard potential fines for rogue landlords would be measured against several factors.

These include seriousness of risk of harm to the tenant, the landlord’s culpability and/or track record and any financial gain from committing the offence.

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A report prepared for cabinet added funds from fines would be used by the council to “improve private sector housing working practices.”

Deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Michael Mordey, said the policy would serve as “another tool in the council’s arsenal” around housing issues.

“The more powers we have available to address the bad landlords is welcome,” he said.

“But we also have to put on record the fact that the city has a lot of good landlords.

“We shouldn’t tar them all with the same brush but this will give us that extra power and influence to deal with those who do cause problems.”

There are approximately 33,800 private sector rented homes in Sunderland.

Under the policy, landlords could also face sanctions and court action if they are endangering tenants, have property where there is anti-social behaviour, or a property that is unlicensed and poorly managed.

On the policy, Coun Atkinson added: “I think it’s also about giving a voice to people who often feel quite voiceless.”