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Enforcement and Regulatory Policy for Private Sector Housing

5.0 Regulatory and legislation compliance options

5.1 The tables below outline the enforcement options available to the Private Sector Housing Team. The actions listed are not exhaustive and the Private Sector Housing Team will continue to make decisions on a case by case basis.

General circumstances

ActionGeneral circumstances
No ActionWhere formal action may not be necessary, a referral to other sources of advice may be made.
Informal Action/Advice

Where circumstance dictates it may be appropriate to deal with problems initially by way of informal action or advice. For example, notifying a responsible person that action is required prior to taking formal action.

Where a responsible person agrees to take the action required by the Local Authority.

Service of Notice (requiring repairs or specific legal requirements)

Where there is a risk to health, safety and wellbeing of a household or the public.

A landlord has a history of non-compliance with statutory notices or has failed to respond to requests to work informally with the Local Authority.

Standards are poor with little management awareness of statutory requirements

There is a record of criminal convictions for failure to comply with housing related offences in the last 5 years, or a caution has been issued in the last 2 years

It is necessary to safeguard and protect health and safety in the future

To bring an empty property back into use when informal requests to do so have failed

Powers of Entry

To protect the health and safety of any person or to protect the environment without delay

To investigate an offence

To prevent the obstruction of Officers

To carry out a statutory duty or power

Powers to Require Documents

Authorised officers have the power to require:

  • Documents to be provided to enable them to carry out their powers and duties under the Housing Act 2004
  • Electrical and gas safety certificated in relation to HMOs
  • Any person with an interest in a property to provide details about its ownership or occupation

Emergency circumstances

ActionEmergency Circumstances
Emergency Remedial Action/Emergency Prohibition OrderThere is an imminent risk of serious harm to the health and safety of any occupiers of the premises or any other residential premises
Injunctive ActionFor use in dangerous or significant public detriment or where offenders are repeatedly found guilty of similar offences

Contravention circumstances

ActionContravention circumstances
Works in Default for noncompliance with a notice

To carry out works required by a notice if they have not been complied with within the permitted time

The above may be taken in conjunction with, or followed by prosecution, issuing a Penalty Charge, issuing a Civil Penalty Charge or seeking a Rent Repayment Order

Revocation of licenses and approvals

Manager identified as not a 'fit and proper person'

There is a breach of licensing conditions or poor standards of management

Formal (Simple) CautionFor less serious offences where it is deemed appropriate to warn people about their behaviour and legal consequences if they commit further offences
Penalty ChargeFor failure to comply with a Remedial Notice under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
Civil Penalty Charge

As an alternative to prosecution where an individual or company has:

  • deliberately, negligently or persistently breached certain legal obligations under the Housing Act 2004 or the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020
Rent Repayment Order

Where an individual or company has:

  • breached certain legal obligations under the Housing Act 2004, the Housing and Planning Act 2016, the Criminal Law Act 1977 or the Protection from Eviction Act 1977
Prosecution

Where an individual or company has:

  • deliberately, negligently or persistently breached legal obligations
  • deliberately or persistently ignored written warnings or formal notices/orders or no reasonable progress has been made in carrying out requirements
  • refused to accept the offer of a simple caution
  • assaulted or obstructed and Officer in the course of their duties or provided false information
  • where Alternative means to achieve compliance are considered inappropriate