Civil Penalty for Housing Act Offences

Stafford Borough Council wants to support good landlords who provide decent well maintained homes, however, a small number of landlords knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation. 

Historically, where the Council considers there to be a serious breach, or “an offence” of a requirement within the Housing Act 2004, it can prosecute offenders in a criminal court. This is often costly and time consuming.

The Government introduced laws to allow Councils to issue civil financial penalties as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences. These are for offences detailed in Housing Act 2004 Section 249a.

A scheme of Civil Penalties have been adopted by the Council and are set out in the matrix below. The scheme takes into consideration the nature of the offences and their seriousness, the behaviour and culpability of the landlord as well as mitigating factors.  

Civil Penalty Matrix (pdf 340kb)

When the Council decides to issue a financial penalty, it must be sure that the offence took place in the same way that it must in a criminal court. To begin with, where the council believes that there is sufficient evidence and a financial penalty is appropriate, a “Notice of Intent” will be issued to the responsible landlord giving details of a proposed financial penalty and they will have an opportunity to provide representations that the Council must consider. 

If, after that process the Council still considers that a financial penalty is the most appropriate response, a “Final Notice” will be issued and the landlord can appeal against the decision to a Tribunal. Information on how to do this will be provided with any Final Notice.

A landlord issued with a financial penalty will not have a criminal record, but if that person or company has been issued with two penalties in any 12 month period may have their details added to the National Rogue Landlord Database.

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