Landlords who rent out substandard accommodation in Brent will face civil penalty notices of up to £30,000.
Under the new measures voted in by the Council last night, landlords who break the law will be issued with a civil penalty and given 28 days to pay. A 20 per cent reduction will be offered to landlords who pay within 28 days. But those who don't pay in time will have to pay the full amount. A refusal will lead to County Court proceedings.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: "The new civil penalties make it easier for the Council to crack down on rogue landlords and poor housing conditions across the borough. Only landlords who flout the law will be hurt financially. The money from the fines will be reinvested into providing more action against rogue landlords."
The civil penalties will be used as an alternative to prosecution for licensing and Housing Act offences. Civil penalties will be issued by enforcement officers for housing offences, such as:
Not having the right licence for a property or operating without a licence
Failure to comply with an overcrowding or enforcement notice
Failure to comply with a licensing condition
The Council also approved measures for tenants to be supported in pursuing rent repayment orders. Tenants will be able to apply for a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) to reclaim up to 12 months of rent from the rogue landlord who exploited them.
RRO applications can be made for:
Landlords illegally evicting or harassing people living in the property
Landlords using violence to secure entry
Failure to comply with a housing improvement notice or prohibition order
If you are a Brent landlord who lets out shared accommodation, you can apply for a licence online at www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing
If you suspect that someone is renting out an unlicensed property in Brent, please report them anonymously at www.brent.gov.uk/reportaproperty