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Share your views on housing enforcement policy

Residents and organisations are being asked to have their say on a draft new enforcement policy aiming to crackdown on Fenland's rogue landlords.

Helping hand

Fenland District Council, which has a statutory duty to deal with poor housing conditions, has devised a new Housing Enforcement Policy to incorporate changes in the law which have granted authorities more powers to ensure rental accommodation is safe and well-managed.

The new policy means the council can take a more proactive approach to dealing with landlords whose properties are not up to scratch.

If adopted, the new policy will give the council's housing officers new powers, including:

·  Introducing civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences such as failing to comply with improvement notices and overcrowding.

·  Use of rent repayment orders for certain housing offences. These orders can require a landlord to repay rent back to the tenant or, in the case of rent through benefits, to the local authority.

·  New powers to prevent housing with poor energy efficiency ratings being rented out as well as the requirement to improve safety through the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to £5,000.

The council's Cabinet approved the draft policy for consultation at its meeting on April 19, and now people have between Monday, April 23, and Sunday, June 17, to have their say. The council would particularly like to hear those living in private rental accommodation and landlords.

To view the draft policy, and find out how to have your say, visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/consultations (from April 23).

Councillor Dee Laws, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder responsible for private sector housing, said: "The council would always prefer not to take enforcement action against a landlord, but rather work with them and offer advice and support to ensure that their properties are safe and in a good condition.

Article added: April 20, 2018