Councils have approved new powers to tackle rogue landlords in West Suffolk, following a joint cabinet meeting of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury this week.
The councils want to deter rogue landlords in West Suffolk who have unscrupulously left tenants living in appalling conditions from operating, but it has been acknowledged that the vast majority of West Suffolk landlords provide a great service.
Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, the Lead Member for Housing for both Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury, says: “West Suffolk landlords are in the main excellent, providing decent, well-maintained homes, and we are keen to work with and support them.”
At Monday’s council meeting, councillors agreed to begin consultation and engagement on new enforcement routes available via the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which will enable the authorities to fine people, issue rent repayment orders and banning orders as an alternative to taking a prosecution.
Mildmay-White adds: “[There are] a small minority of irresponsible rogue landlords who knowingly rent out accommodation that is unlicensed, substandard and/or unsafe, and for whom the current sanctions are not a sufficient deterrent.”
The councillor also believes that tenants have an important role to play in terms of knowing their rights and working with their landlords.
She explains: “We are developing this policy with local landlords, tenants and interest groups, including neighbouring councils, and the landlords association. It is important that we understand the issues and raise awareness of the role of the Public Health and Housing Service.
“The councils work closely with partner services and organisations to support the needs of the vulnerable people in their homes and to protect the wider community, and there will be consultation direct with key groups on a proportionate fine structure dependent on the severity of non-compliance with the offences.”
Rogue landlords in West Suffolk, we urge you to stick to the law and look out for the new penalties.