Police in Eltham have conducted an operation today which discovered six families living in one home.
According to the police it was a joint operation with “Immigration officers, Council Environmental Health & HMO Officers on a Multi-occupancy address on Eltham High St. 6 whole families living in each bedroom. Landlord breaching everything going!”
It will be interesting to see what happens to the landlord and whether they face prosecution or a civil penalty.
Recently introduced rules mean that Local Authorities can now fine landlords up to £30,000 per offence. It would appear more than one has been committed here
Councils can also apply for a charge to be levied against a property. That means when a property is sold the council automatically receive a share of the sale equal to the value of the fine meaning landlords cannot do a runner and avoid paying.
New rules also mean a rent repayment order can be issued. This means any housing benefit the landlord received must be repaid to the council. The scope of this power was widened in 2017. This is in addition to civil penalty fines of £30,000 per offence.
The list of causes to secure a rent repayment are:
- Violence when securing entry
- Eviction or harassment of tenants
- Failure to comply with improvement notice
- Failure to comply with prohibition order
- Control or management of unlicensed HMO
- Control or management of unlicensed house
- Breach of banning order
Given the number of rogue landlords observed in inspections and the potential for greater income for local authorities undergoing cuts, it’s surprising that many councils have not used 2017 powers with more gusto.