Doncaster Council’s Cabinet will be discussing new ways to tackle rogue landlords at their meeting later today.
The proposal is to introduce civil penalties that permit the council to issue a higher financial penalty for landlords who are found to be poorly managing their properties and causing distress to tenants.
If agreed, the council will be allowed to decide the amount of the penalty which can be up to £30,000.
Since last year civil penalties can be imposed by councils, as an alternative to prosecution, for offences under the Housing Act 2004 which include failure to comply with a Housing Improvement Notice and failure to comply with an Overcrowding Notice.
Aside from raise fresh funds for the local authority, the council hopes that the new fines, which will inevitably be significantly higher than the fines currently awarded by Magistrates Courts, will also act as a greater deterrent.
Doncaster Council says that it will keep the income from civil penalties which would need to be used for continuing enforcement work in the private rented sector.
If the proposals get the green light, landlords and agents will still be able to be referred for prosecution by the council, including the council making an application for a Banning Order, in more serious or repeated cases.
Cllr Chris McGuinness, cabinet member for communities, the Voluntary Sector and Environment, said: “The vast majority of landlords in Doncaster manage their properties well but there are a number of rogue landlords and unscrupulous letting agents who flaunt their legal requirements for financial gain.
“We want to clamp down on this and imposing significantly higher financial penalties can act as a strong deterrent to those who think they can take advantage of their tenants.”