We have a duty to address sub-standard housing conditions in the borough and have legal powers to enforce improvements.

The Property Standards and Enforcement team regulates housing and public health conditions in private sector housing.

This is normally done through discussion and cooperation, however it is sometimes necessary to enforce improvements through the service of statutory notices. In such cases it may be necessary for us to complete the works required and recover the costs afterwards.

We can take enforcement action against people that own, live in or rent properties. We most commonly deal with private rented properties where a tenant has contacted us for assistance in resolving disrepair.

We don’t usually take action against homeowners, unless:

  • conditions in the property, or on the land, are causing a nuisance
  • conditions in the property, or on the land, are causing damage to neighbouring property or land
  • there is an issue that could affect public safety
  • the property has been left empty.

Inspections

If an inspection is required, the officer will usually give both the tenant and landlord 24 hours’ notice. In some cases, we will serve a Notice of Intended Entry or apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a warrant to enter the property.

Action is taken to reduce or eliminate identified hazards as defined by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

The HHSRS is the enforcement tool used to identify matters which adversely affect the health and safety of occupiers in their home.

Landlords are always notified in advance of all pending visits and the outcomes of those inspections so they may take the opportunity to attend to any identified hazards.

If enforcement action becomes necessary and a statutory notice served, the notice will not only require you as the landlord to formally carry out all identified and necessary repairs, but it will also carry a charge which will cover expenses incurred by the council in the inspection, consideration of action to be taken and service of the notice.

The cost of this notice will then be registered as a local land charge against your property until the costs have been repaid.

Types of enforcement action

After the inspection, the officers will decide what type of action – if any – is appropriate.

These are the possible outcomes:

  • No further action - Occasions where, following an initial investigation, the complaint can’t be substantiated
  • Informal action - Written warnings and/or providing advice, is usually the first option if there’s a problem and those involved are willing to cooperate
  • Formal notices - We may issue formal notices, for example, to require a landlord to carry out repairs, if the repairs should have been done by law, are urgent as there’s a risk to health and safety or the landlord has a history of breaking the law
  • Works in default - If a formal notice is served and essential works aren’t done by a landlord, we may do them instead, to ensure safety, and then recover all the expenses from the landlord. We may still decide to prosecute the landlord
  • Simple cautions/interviews under caution - If we issue a simple caution but this is ignored by the alleged offender, the case will be reviewed and we will decide if other formal or informal action is needed.

Types of enforcement notices

  • Demolition Order: Main provisions are still held within the Housing Act 1985, requires the demolition of the property
  • Emergency Prohibition Orders: Restrict the use of all or part of dwelling in an emergency
  • Emergency Remedial Action Notice: Works undertaken as an emergency by the Council
  • Improvement Notices: A notice that requires repairs to be undertaken within a set amount of time
  • Prohibition Order: Restrict the use of whole or part of a dwelling due to serious hazards

Enforcement charges

The charges have been reviewed and the new charges took effect from 1 April 2017. Therefore, any notice served under the Housing Act 2004 on or after 1 April 2017, will be subject to the charges below.

Service Charge
Demolition Order £550 for property with up to 10 rooms, plus £10 per additional room
Emergency Prohibition Order £550 for property with up to 10 rooms, plus £10 per additional room
Emergency Remedial Action Notice £550 for property with up to 10 rooms, plus £10 per additional room
Improvement Notice £550 for property with up to 10 rooms, plus £10 per additional room
Prohibition Order £550 for property with up to 10 rooms, plus £10 per additional room
Suspended Improvement Notice, Suspended Prohibition Order, or serving copies of the review £250 for the review and £60 for copy only
Works in default, for works undertaken by the council for failure to comply with an enforcement action The cost of the works and a 17% management charge
Fine for enforcement action £250