Rogue landlords beware: Here's what Doncaster Council are considering to help tenants

Councillors will decide next week.
Councillors will decide next week.
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Doncaster Council is to launch a tough crackdown on rogue landlords who cause distress and misery for tenants.

Councillors will meet next Tuesday to debate the introduction of civil penalties which will allow the local authority to issue huge fines of up to £30,000 for landlords who are found to be badly managing their properties.

A change in Government policy means councils can issue fines larger than those currently issued by Magistrates Courts. The ruling is meant to act as bigger deterrent for offences such as failing to comply with overcrowding notices and repairs.

In a report issued to cabinet members, Tracey Harwood, head of service regulation and enforcement, said money paid in fines will be reinvested in continuing enforcement work in the private sector.

If the proposals go ahead, landlords and agents can still be referred for prosecution by the council, including bosses making an application for a banning order, in more serious or repeated cases.

Housing officers deal with around 300 complaints a year and while the majority are dealt with, an average of 50 landlords are subject to enforcement action while a further five are referred for prosecution.

During the implementation of selective licensing in Hexthorpe, the enforcement team investigated around 100 cases of landlords failing to licence their property in time.

Around 50 cases have been forwarded for prosecution action. Bosses claim civil penalties would provide a ‘better deterrent and a swifter’ action for these types of offences.

Coun Chris McGuinness, cabinet member for communities, the voluntary sector and environment, said: “The vast majority of landlords in Doncaster manage their properties well but there are a number of rogue landlords and unscrupulous letting agents who flaunt their legal requirements for financial gain.

“We want to clamp down on this and imposing significantly higher financial penalties can act as a strong deterrent to those who think they can take advantage of their tenants.”