Stricter fines to come in for rogue landlords
Landlords who rent out substandard properties could be hit with fines of up to £30,000 under new council plans.
Rogue landlords renting out properties in Stafford which contain excess damp and mould, electrical hazards or are deemed to be below standard could be hit with civil penalties as Stafford Borough Council looks to introduce ways to punish them quicker than through the court system.
This follows on from one case last year where a landlord, Calvin Wong, was found guilty of charges including failing to fit a suitable fire detection system at an address in Marston Grove, Stafford, as well as failing to keep the property in good condition and not obtaining a licence from the borough council.
He was fined £14,000 but under proposed new rules, if the council were to give out civil penalties, they could be more than double of that.
The biggest fines will be given out for landlords who regularly fail to comply with improvement notices issued by the council.
Councillor Jeremy Pert said: "The private rented sector continues to provide a good housing option for many families and is a growing and important part of our community - and the vast majority of landlords work with us to ensure the accommodation they provide is of the highest standard.
"But for those landlords who choose not to invest in their properties and they fall below an acceptable standard for our residents, then we will ask them to bring these homes up to the required level of habitation.
"Fixed penalty notices are an additional enforcement measure which will allow our professional officers, who are authorised, to persuade landlords to comply with their legal duties.
"This should not be an issue for most landlords but we need to ensure all our residents have homes that are fit to live in.”
The council's community wellbeing scrutiny committee discussed the plans on Tuesday and gave their blessing for them to move forward.
They are now the subject of a public consultation, which can be viewed online at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/civil-penalty-for-housing-act-offences.
Anyone wanting to respond to the consultation must do so by July 20.