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Enforcement and Regulatory Policy for Private Sector Housing

6.0 Fees and charges

6.1 Legislation allows the Council to charge for taking certain enforcement action, for undertaking work in default, for licensing and to impose penalty charges for noncompliance with notices or orders.

Taking enforcement action

6.2 Where enforcement action is necessary by way of serving a notice or making an order, the Council will use a variety of regulatory powers. Where legislation allows the Council will normally charge the person responsible for the cost of determining whether to take such action and for preparing and serving a notice or making an order. Table 1 provides details of the current charges.

6.3 In deciding whether to exercise the powers to make a charge, the Council may consider the circumstances of the person or persons against whom enforcement action is being taken and reserves the right to waive the charge for enforcement action.

Table 1

ActionFee
Improvement Notice£323
Suspended Improvement Notice£323
Hazard Awareness Notice£323
Prohibition Order£301
Suspended Prohibition Order£301
Emergency Remedial Action£301
Emergency Prohibition Order£301
Demolition Order£301
Review of notices and orders£301

6.4 Additional costs that are incurred in obtaining specialist reports and the like which assist in identifying any action to be specified within a notice or order will be added on to the fee.

Work in default

6.5 The Council has powers under various legislation to carry out works where a person has been required to undertake work but has failed to do so or where work is required in an emergency.

6.6 Where the Council undertakes work, we will seek to recover the full cost of the works, plus a charge of £50 or 10% of the cost of the works, whichever is the higher.

6.7 It is not always mandatory for the Council to undertake work and we reserve the right not to do so where the cost of the work is considered to be excessive or there may be difficulties in recovering costs.

Licensing

6.8 The Housing Act 2004 allows the Council to charge a fee for licensing Houses in Multiple Occupation and since the inception of mandatory HMO Licensing in April 2006 the Council have been subsidising delivery of the licensing scheme. Following a corporate review of HMO licence fees in April 2010, the Council introduced a new charge of £250 per unit of accommodation for a licensable HMO (discounted to £200 per unit of accommodation for members of the Landlord Accreditation Scheme). Once a licence has been granted the licence fee is non-refundable. Whilst the fees have been adjusted and are more realistic of the costs involved in operating the scheme, it still remains subsidised by the Council.

Penalty Charge

6.9 The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 placed a duty on landlords to ensure certain requirements are met in respect of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

6.10 Where a landlord is found to have failed to meet these requirements then the Council may serve a Remedial Action Notice. Failure to comply with such a Notice the Council may impose a Penalty Charge of up to £5,000.

6.11 The Penalty Charge shall be set at £1,000 for the first offence but this will be reduced by 25% to £750 if paid within a 14 day period. Should the Landlord not comply with future Remedial Notices then the fine shall be set as detailed below.

OffenceCharge
Second£2,000
Subsequent offences£5,000

No discount will be given for prompt payment after the first offcation. 

6.12 The Council have produced a Statement of Principals relating to this Penalty Charge, and full details can be found on the Councils website.

Civil Penalties

6.13 The Council can impose a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000 for certain specified housing offences.

6.14 A Civil Penalty will be issued where the Council believes that the most disruptive sanction to impose on a criminal, rogue or irresponsible landlord is a financial penalty (or penalties if there are several breaches), rather than prosecution.

6.15 In order to ensure that the Civil Penalty is set at an appropriate level, the Council will take in to account the factors identified in statutory guidance set out by the Government and full details of the Council's approach to Civil Penalties, can be found in the Council's Civil Penalty policy.

Rent Repayment Orders

6.16 The Council will consider on a case by case basis applying for a Rent Repayment Order if it becomes aware that a person who is a landlord commits a certain specified offence for which a Rent Repayment Order can be sought.

6.17 When determining how much rent to recover the Council will take in to account the factors identified in statutory guidance set out by the Government and full details of the Council's approach to Rent Repayment Orders, can be found in the Council's Rent Repayment Order policy.