Rogue landlords face tougher times ahead as Fenland Council pledges crackdown

PUBLISHED: 16:15 03 October 2019

Living conditions in two properties inspected by housing officers from Fenland Council. A major crackdown is under way to tackle rogue landlords. Picture; FENLAND COUNCIL

Living conditions in two properties inspected by housing officers from Fenland Council. A major crackdown is under way to tackle rogue landlords. Picture; FENLAND COUNCIL

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Fenland's slum landlords face immediate and tough enforcement action in a major crackdown announced today.

The district council revealed that in the past 18 months they have uncovered 40 houses in multiple occupation which have not been licensed.

And an inspection report of 2,000 private sector homes carried out over the same period they found poor housing conditions "with issues relating to fire safety, electrical safety and damp".

The council said their message to sub standard landlords was simple: "clean up your act or face an immediate fine".

Landlords will face immediate enforcement action if their House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is not licensed or if they are failing to keep the property in good repair.

"This may include the serving of an enforcement notice, resulting in a charge of £240, and/or a civil penalty notice, attracting fines of up to £30,000" said a council spokesman.

Changes to HMO licensing were brought into force by the Government in October 2018.

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"With support from the council, landlords have since had a reasonable time to comply with these regulations," said the spokesman.

Many private sector homes are in multiple occupation but do not need a licence: however the council believes a number do need a licence and they are continuing to check.

Ongoing inspection is expected of more unlicensed HMOs and the council says this is part of the reason why they are supporting the introduction of "tougher enforcement practices to hold rogue landlords to account"/

The spokesman said: "To avoid enforcement action, landlords and agents are being urged to check that they understand and are meeting all their legal obligations.

"By taking an active interest in their dwellings, landlords can ensure their properties remain in good repair and are occupied in accordance with their tenancy agreement."

Cllr Sam Hoy, Fenland District Council's portfolio holder for housing, said: "The council will not accept excuses for sub-standard property management.

"The law is in place to ensure tenants can safely live in accommodation where they can stay warm and keep well."

Members of the public can report landlords who they believe to be operating a HMO without a license anonymously at: https://www.fenland.gov.uk/article/13753/Report-a-HMO

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