Under new powers Councils can now issue financial civil penalties of up to £30,000 to landlords that breach certain regulations. These are an alternative to a criminal prosecution, but require the same proof of evidence.
To date West Lindsey District Council has issued 8 civil penalties totalling £58,500 for offences relating to their selective licensing scheme and non-compliance with improvement notices. The lowest penalty amount issued to date is £2,500 and the highest £11,000.
The level of penalty issued is determined by the type of offence that has occurred and considers factors such as culpability, severity of harm caused and the financial circumstance of the landlord in question.
Two of the civil penalties issued have been heard at the First Tier Property Tribunal, which is where any appeals to the penalties are dealt with. If a landlord does not pay the penalty, the Council can seek to secure the debt against property in their ownership and look to enforce a sale of that property to recover the debt owed.
The payments received from the civil penalties are retained by the Council and used to fund further work relating to improving housing standards within the district.
The majority of Lincolnshire districts now have civil penalty policies in place, for more information visit the districts website.