Zero Tolerance – £30k per offence?

by Readers Question

12:13 PM, 16th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Zero Tolerance – £30k per offence?

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Zero Tolerance – £30k per offence?

My council have invented a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in relation to enforcement of housing standards. They are saying that effectively they can fine up to 30k PER ‘OFFENCE’ and will be an ‘on the spot’ type of fine whereby the landlord will not be given any chance whatsoever to put the situation right, they will just be given a 30k fine.

This includes properties not requiring a licence. How can this possibly be even legal?

The ‘policy’ was ratified by the Council and signed off, however NONE of the landlords I am speaking to on a regular basis have been made aware of this policy. Surely Council’s can’t do this in a civilised society?

They can fine, for instance, if they do a door to door patrol and find a fire door wedged open, exit blocked etc etc or you have simply not understood the regulations. They can fine you for just ‘getting it wrong’ and gone are the days when you receive an HHSRS giving you a timeline to do the work.

I wondered if anyone else has come across this and if this should be legally challenged?

Marie



Comments

Neil Patterson

12:15 PM, 16th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Hi Marie,

Can I ask which council it is please?

Luke P

12:55 PM, 16th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Marie, if you’re not in Hull, please contact me at singlelayer@icloud.com The Humber Landlords Association are currently appealing the Judicial Review decision on this very matter. I implore all LLs to consider supporting the ‘fighting fund’ as this will spread (via the LGA meetings) once the matter is finalised.

Ian Narbeth

15:54 PM, 16th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Hi Marie
If the Council have this as a blanket policy it is probably unlawful and can be challenged by Judicial Review as Luke P suggests.

Rod

8:27 AM, 17th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Our top councillor earns £250,000 pa, the money has to come from somewhere poor things!

Dr Rosalind Beck

8:57 AM, 17th July 2019
About 5 months ago

I'd like to know what the two leading landlord organisations are doing to help landlords with this.

Luke P

9:09 AM, 17th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 17/07/2019 - 08:57
As wet as the very often are, Ros, the RLA are supporting the Humber Landlords Association (possibly the NLA too), though not as vocal about their opposition as I would like. The Landlords Alliance has also pledged financial support too.

Usual apathy though…until it hits their areas, most LLs don’t care.

Chris Daniel

9:44 AM, 17th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rod at 17/07/2019 - 08:27
Rod, - post that on the Taxpayers Alliance web site.

Chris Daniel

9:49 AM, 17th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Marie,
The government has produced Guidance to L.A's on the appropriate use on penalty provisions under the Housing & Planning Act, although ( like much of the government's legislation ) is more woolly than all the sheep in Wales.
see
https://www.anthonygold.co.uk/latest/blog/update-civil-penalties-housing-planning-act-2016/

Steve Masters

10:50 AM, 17th July 2019
About 5 months ago

So, if a tenant wedges a fire door open I can be fined, £30,000 but if a tenant is late with their rent (paying rent is a fundamental principle of lettering) I can only charge them something like 3p a day!

What we need is a Council Fees Ban Bill.

paul landlord

14:08 PM, 17th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 17/07/2019 - 09:09
With respect isn't that final line a little unfair?
It's not in my area and I care very much!
Having just read this Im extremely alarmed and would be very happy to contribute towards a 'fighting fund' or take action. I believe we all need to stick together or be divided and conquered.

Im thinking rather than just pure apathy (which i agree is always far to prevalent), could it also be a lack of awareness?

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