Rogue landlords in Norwich to face £30,000 fines through new crackdown powers

Norwich City Council officers say new powers to hit rogue landlords in the pocket will help improve

Norwich City Council officers say new powers to hit rogue landlords in the pocket will help improve the quality of privately rented housing in the city. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Rogue landlords who flout the law and put tenants at risk could be hit with fines of up to £30,000 as the city council looks to use new powers to tackle problems in Norwich.

City Hall officers say the use of financial penalties will mean they will be able to take action against a higher number of rogue landlords.

They say that will bring about a 'significant improvement' in the condition of the city's privately-rented homes.

New powers could even mean penalties could be imposed for failure to keep gardens in a reasonable condition.

And fines of £5,000 could be issued for failures to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

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Council officers say that, without these powers, they could only look to prosecute a small number of the worst offenders because of the length and cost of the legal process.

And, with fines imposed by courts relatively low, City Hall officers said there had been little to deter landlords from letting sub-standard homes.

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But under the new powers, the council will be able to hit landlords in the pocket, as an alternative to prosecution.

They will target those who fail to comply with improvement notices, breach licensing requirements or fail to meet management regulations around homes where multiple rooms are rented out.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: 'Government guidance has made it clear that the power to impose a financial penalty 'should be used robustly as a way of clamping down on rogue landlords' and that the purpose of allowing high penalties to be imposed is 'because a smaller fine may not be significant enough for landlords who flout the law to think seriously about their behaviour and provide good quality, private sector rented accommodation for their tenants'.'

The council will be able to keep the money raised, to be used on further enforcement.

But the council stressed the primary reason for penalties would not be to raise cash but to get landlords to change their behaviour and comply with regulations.

Landlords served with a notice of a financial penalty will be able to explain matters and have a right to appeal if the fine is still imposed.

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