Rogue landlords who provide sub-standard housing to tenants face additional penalties in Daventry district following the introduction of new rules.
Daventry District Council’s environmental improvement team investigates complaints of privately rented housing in poor condition and can use powers under the Housing Act 2004 to force landlords to make necessary improvements.
The council says such investigations can prove complex, with some requiring legal advice and the use of specialist contractors.
Last year 10 formal notices were served in the district to address poor housing conditions. The cost of each investigation ranges from £200 to £800 – all paid for out of the public purse.
Now when formal action is taken, the council will charge the landlord the cost of any investigation, based on the hourly rate of any officers and contractors.
It is hoped the introduction of charges will encourage landlords to deal with issues sooner, avoiding the need for formal action, as well as allowing the council to cover its expenses when such action is required.
Councillor Mike Warren, health and housing portfolio holder on DDC, said: “Landlords within the private rented sector have a legal responsibility to maintain their properties in a good state of repair. Poor housing conditions can have a range of health implications for tenants.
“In most cases we are able to resolve issues informally by working with the landlord, but the rapid growth in the private rented sector in recent years has also seen an increase in the number of times we have taken formal action. Not only is this costly, it is also extremely time-consuming for the officers involved.
“We hope the threat of these charges will encourage more landlords to work with us at an earlier stage, removing the need for formal action, saving the council money and time, and ultimately benefiting the tenant.”