Posts with tag: civil penalties

Most councils are not issuing penalties against rogue landlords, NRLA finds

Published On: August 4, 2021 at 8:07 am


Categories: Landlord News,Law News

Tags: ,,,

A new survey shows how few local authorities in England have issued civil penalties against rogue or criminal landlords in the last 3 years.

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has found that between 2018/19 and 2020/21, only 130 local authorities in England out of 275 replying to the survey (47%) had issued any civil penalties. Most had used only a handful, with 71% of all civil penalties issued by just 7% of the local authorities.

This is despite councils in England having the option to issue civil penalties of up to £30,000 for a range of housing offences since April 2017. This income can be re-invested by local authorities to help finance further enforcement against criminal operators who cause harm to tenants and give private renting a bad name, the NRLA points out.

As a result of the NRLA’s Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, it also found 40% of councils that had issued civil penalties had issued between just one and five over the past three years.

In total, fewer than 3,200 civil penalties were issued over the last three years by the local authorities responding to the survey. This is despite Ministers suggesting during the passage of the legislation to introduce them that there may be 10,500 rogue landlords in operation.

Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the NRLA, comments: “Our findings show that most councils are failing to use all the tools available to them to tackle rogue and criminal landlords.

“By failing to apply appropriate sanctions to punish wrongdoing, councils are weakening the principle of deterrence which underpins the civil penalties regime.

“We are calling on all councils to ensure they are making full and proper use of the powers they have to tackle those landlords who cause misery to tenants and bring the sector into disrepute.

“The Government’s plans to reform the private rented sector due later this year will mean nothing if changes are not properly enforced.”

Letting agents: Take note of new civil penalties!

Published On: April 6, 2017 at 10:39 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,,

New legislation that comes into play today is to give local authorities in England tougher new powers in order for them to clamp down on rogue agents and landlords.

For the first time, local housing authorities are able to impose a civil penalty of up to £30,000 for a range of housing offences.


The offences that can fall subject to charges are:

  • Failure to comply with either a housing improvement or overcrowding notice
  • Failure to have the sufficient licence for a property that requires a mandatory HMO, additional or selective licence
  • Failure to comply with HMO management regulations

For properties that do not have the correct licence, or are found to be in breach of rules surrounding HMOs, both the landlord and letting agent can be held accountable. This means that compliance checks are now imperative.

Before any penalties are imposed, local authorities must adhere to Government guidance and issue a notice of intent.

Letting agents: Take note of new civil penalties!

Letting agents: Take note of new civil penalties!

Rent Repayment Orders

In addition, the Government is expanding its Rent Repayment Order provisions, in order to enable local authorities or tenants to claim back up to 12 months rent.

Beforehand, this was only available to licensable properties. However, tenants could not make a claim unless the local authority had prosecuted the landlord.

From today, Rent Repayment Orders are available as a sanction for more offences, which include:

  • illegal eviction or harassment
  • using violence in order to secure entry
  • failure to comply with a housing improvement notice

Tenants can now submit a claim without the local authority having prosecuted the landlord. Unlike criminal prosecutions, any income that is received from civil penalties or Rent Repayment Orders can be retained by the local authority and then spent on housing enforcements.


Isobel Thomson, chief executive of NALS, said: ‘Whilst we support local authority action to crack down on rogue landlords and agents, it is vital that councils resist the temptation to issue financial penalties for very minor infringements purely to raise income and fill their budget black hole.’[1]

‘If used wisely, these powers could mark an important step forward in driving rogue operators from the market and improving consumer protection. With councils able to retain revenue from targeted enforcement action, the business case for introducing new bureaucratic and costly licensing schemes is weaker than ever. It is time for councils to think again and adopt a smarter approach to regulation,’ she added.[1]