Bad landlords beware
Warrington Borough Council is reminding landlords that if they don’t keep their properties clean, safe and in good condition – action will be taken against them.
The council’s private sector housing enforcement team is carrying out a range of work to tackle disrepair and other health and safety issues within rental properties.
The team is working closely with landlords to resolve all issues that are reported. The majority want to work with the Council, but those landlords that do not co-operate could face severe consequences, including fines.
Recent action taken by the team is the issuing of its first ever Civil Penalty Notice to a bad landlord.
The landlord, from St Helens, was hit with a £20,000 fine after failing to carry out required improvements to a property she was renting to a family, in Collins Green, Burtonwood.
The improvements, which fall under the Housing Act 2004, required repairs to the property to rectify a number of health and safety issues, including dangerous electrics and damp.
The same landlord in St Helens also failed to comply with a smoke alarm notice. As a result the Council attended the property to fit the alarms and has issued the landlord with a fixed penalty fine of £1,000.
Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for public health and wellbeing, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “We are sending out a clear message to bad landlords that failing to ensure your properties are safe and healthy for your tenants will not be tolerated.
“We want to protect all of Warrington’s tenants from poor housing conditions, and we are working closely with landlords to achieve this. While the vast majority of them want to work with us, we will continue to use all the powers available to us to take action against those who fail to co-operate.”
Other measures the council is taking against bad landlord include serving a Prohibition Order, prohibiting all or part of the property from being occupied, with potential prosecutions for those who fail to comply; and take Emergency Remedial Action, carrying out repairs, and recharging the owner.
The council is also enforcing the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations, which require all privately rented properties to have a smoke alarm at each floor level on the escape route and a carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a wood burning stove.
In extreme cases, the council can serve a Demolition Order or declare a Clearance Area if there is a block of very sub-standard properties.
Further work being carried out is prosecutions or a Civil Penalty Notice of up to £30,000 for landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) who do not hold a licence; and the investigation of illegal eviction and harassment by landlords. Where there is sufficient evidence of an offence, the landlord will be prosecuted.