Civil Penalties, Rent Repayment Orders - The Housing and Planning Act 2016
To consider report SHAP/61 of the Head of Strategic Housing and Planning Services.
The Cabinet Member for Housing presented report SHAP/61 of the Head of Strategic Housing and Planning Services which sought approval for the use of the civil penalties and rent repayment orders as laid out in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 as further tools to assist the Council in improving standards within the private rented sector.
The Cabinet was informed that legislation has come into force enabling local authorities to pursue civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for a number of specified offences under the Housing Act 2004. In addition, the use of rent repayment orders has been extended to cover illegal eviction and other specified offences.
Members were pleased that those powers would enable the Council to further protect its residents as it gave the Council options as an alternative to a prosecution . It was confirmed that the new powers were not solely relating to landlords to houses of multiple occupation, but to any property in the private rented sector.
That the Cabinet:
1) approves the use of the new powers allowing the Council to impose civil penalties and to apply for rent repayment orders, as summarised in Section 4.1 - 4.13 of report SHAP/61.
2) approves the proposed policy relating to the Council’s use of these new powers as set out in Appendix 1 to report SHAP/61.
3) delegates authority to the Head of Strategic Housing and Planning Services in consultation with the Head of Legal and Democratic Services to agree the sum of civil penalties to be issued on a case by case basis in accordance with the approved policy.
Reasons for the Recommendations
The recommendations will enable the Council to utilise additional legislative powers in driving up management standards within the private rented sector.