Housing standards

We work to ensure warm, safe and healthy homes for all, whether you live in an owner occupied, privately rented or housing association property.

To maintain standards in the private rented sector it is important that both landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities.

  1. Standards for rented housing
  2. Housing enforcement
  3. Rent Repayment Orders
  4. Civil Penalty Charges
  5. Prosecution 
  6. Banning Orders
  7. Rogue Landlords Database
  8. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
  9. Contact information

Standards for rented housing

If you rent your property and believe it is affecting your health or safety, and your landlord has failed to take suitable action, you can contact us and we will assess your property using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

This assessment focuses on the 29 hazards that are most likely to be present in housing, allowing us to evaluate any risks to health and safety that may be present in your home.

Following the assessment we will take action in line with our private sector housing enforcement policy to ensure your property meets an acceptable standard.

Housing enforcement

If you own or manage a property and have been served with an enforcement notice you may have received a Demand for Payment of Charge for Certain Enforcement Action. This fee can be paid online.

Pay now

If no appeal is brought against the underlying notice or order, a demand becomes operative at the end of the period of 21 days beginning with the date of service of the demand.

Additional standards apply to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Rent Repayment Orders

We have a legal duty to consider applying to The First-tier Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order if we become aware that a person is convicted of a relevant offence, including -

  • Breach of an Improvement Notice
  • Breach of a Prohibition Order
  • Operating or Managing an unlicensed HMO
  • Breaching a Banning Order
  • Illegal eviction/harassment

We may also apply for a Rent Repayment Order for payments made through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit for a period of up to 12 months where we have sufficient evidence that a relevant offence has been committed, without first obtaining a conviction.  Any application will be made in accordance with our private sector housing enforcement policy.

Tenants may also apply to have rent repaid for maximum period of 12 months.  To apply you must have been occupying the property at the time of the offence and make any application for a rent repayment order within 12 months of the offence being committed.  Your claim must be submitted to the First-tier Property Tribunal, setting out the reasons for the claim and the dates to which it relates.

Civil Penalty Charges

Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, we are now able to impose a civil penalty Charge of up to £30,000 on landlords or property managers where this is more appropriate than seeking a prosecution. Any decision to impose a civil penalty will be made in line with our private sector housing enforcement policy.

Prosecution 

In serious cases we will take landlords or managing agents to court and prosecute. If found guilty, the offender will have a criminal record and must pay a fine (unlimited for most housing offences), plus our investigation costs awarded by the court. In addition to prosecution we may also apply for a Banning Order.

Banning Orders

If a landlord or managing agent is convicted in court of a banning order offence, we can apply to the First Tier Tribunal for a banning order prohibiting the landlord or agent from letting or managing any rental property in England. A ban lasts for a minimum of one year during which any properties must be managed by an independent manager.

Rogue Landlords Database

If a landlord or managing agent receives two or more financial penalties within the same year or are convicted of a banning order offence, we can add them to a national database of rogue landlords.  The database is accessible to all Councils across England to help them tackle criminal landlords operating across boundaries.

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 ensures that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation and strengthens tenants rights where landlords or housing associations do not assure that their property is free from serious hazards at the beginning of new tenancies and throughout.

The Act applies to all new tenancies (shorter than 7 years) after 20th March 2019 or existing tenancies renewed after this date (the Act will apply to periodic tenancies from 20th March 2020). 

If a landlord fails to comply with the Act, tenants may have the right to take court action for breach of contract.  If the court decides that the landlord has not provided their tenant with a home that is fit for habitation, then they may make the landlord pay compensation to their tenant or make the landlord do the necessary works to improve their property.

Contact information

  • Telephone: 01494 412247 or 01494 412249