Fixed Penalty Notices and Rent Repayment Orders
Published on Wed, 5th Apr 2017 14:00
Under the 2016 Housing and Planning Act (HA16) Local Authorities have been given the abolity to issue Fixed Penalty Notices, and Rent Repayment Orders for certain offences.
Fixed Penalty Notices
These new rules allow Local Authorities (LA) to levy a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for various offences under the Housing Act 2004 instead of bringing a prosecution.
The offences are:
failure to apply for an HMO licence;
breach of a licence condition;
breach of the HMO Management Regulations;
breach of a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) enforcement notice; and
using unlawful force to seek an eviction.
Note that if there are several offences (as there may well be, for example, if you have breached several of the HMO management regs) there will be a separate penalty notice for each one – which could rack up to quite a sum, even though is it not expected that the penalty will be for the full amount every time.
If you find yourself on the wrong end of a penalty notice, you will have 28 days to make representations to your LA. If the Local Authority decides to go ahead, you then get another 28 days to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal.
Note that the LA has to make these offences as part of their local plan before they can be used, and it is anticipated that the maximum fines won’t be £30,000.
Rent Repayment Notices
Rent Repayment Orders have been around since 2005, but now LA’s will be able to use them for a greater range of offences.
A landlord may be liable to repay up to 12 months of rent or housing benefit to either the tenant or the local authority. The Tribunal has some discretion on the amount of the repayment unless there has already been a prosecution or fixed penalty notice issued in relation to the same breach. In such a case, the entire sum claimed is likely to have to be repaid.
Rent repayment orders can be issued for the following:
Failing to license a HMO
Use of unlawful force during an eviction
Non-compliance with a statutory notice.
Breach of a banning order is expected to be added later in the year.