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West Suffolk councils plan to adopt new powers to combat dodgy landlords

PUBLISHED: 11:24 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:22 10 January 2018

Councillor Sara Mildmay-White. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Councillor Sara Mildmay-White. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

West Suffolk councils will adopting new powers to combat rogue landlords, following a joint cabinet meeting of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury last night.

West Suffolk councils will adopting new powers to combat rogue landlords, following a joint cabinet meeting of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury last night.

They aim is to tackle and deal with the very worst private landlords and deter bad landlords from operating in west Suffolk, while working with good landlords to grow the sector.

Councillors agreed to begin consultation and engagement on new enforcement routes, available via the Housing and Planning Act 2016, that will allow the authorities to fine people, issue rent repayment orders and banning orders as an alternative to taking a prosecution.

Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, lead member for housing for both authorities said: “West Suffolk landlords are in the main excellent, providing decent, well maintained homes and we are keen to work with and support them.

“There are however 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.”

West Suffolk council say the new legislation provides a streamlined alternative to prosecution, albeit with the same level of evidence and an appeals process in place, designed to deal with cash-for-rent landlords working outside of the law.

Councillor Mildmay–White said: “Tenants have an important role to play in terms of knowing their rights and working with their landlords.

“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.”

The public will be directed to an online survey https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/civilsanctions/

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