£31,606 has been collected in fines by Oxford City Council for housing offences since new financial penalty powers came into force in April 2017 to help clampdown on rogue landlords and protect the safety of renters.
The new powers, granted under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, allow local authorities to impose penalties to a maximum of £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for various housing transgressions. Councils can keep all the income and spend it on private sector housing enforcement.
In a press release, Oxford City Council outlined the fines they have imposed: “In the biggest of the three fines, a landlord who owns a rented property on Garsington Road received financial penalties totalling £25,298 for failing to licence it as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and uphold HMO management standards.
“The landlord was issued a financial penalty of £7,149 for failing to licence the property as well as an additional £18,149 for four separate fire safety failures.
“The third landlord was given a financial penalty of £1,234 for renting out an HMO on Iffley Road whose licence had expired in 2014. All three landlords cannot be named for legal reasons.”
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services, has spoken on the issue: “I’m pleased that the Council can now take swift action against landlords who break the rules, and do it without the costs of taking a case through the courts. We will continue to use these new powers to drive up standards in the private housing sector and protect tenants from unsafe homes and rogue landlords.”