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London council issues first lettings sector 'civil penalty'

The London council of Newham is thought to be the first local authority in the UK to use new powers to issue a direct fine on a rogue landlord.

This replaces the need for a lengthy and expensive court action.

The landlord was fined at the end of April, just 20 days after new powers were adopted under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

The level of the fine is set by the council, depending on the seriousness of the breach of conditions, and can go up to £30,000 for the worst cases.

The fine was imposed on the landlord of a flat in Plaistow after a fire in the block. Investigations by the London Fire Brigade revealed there were no fire alarms in the flat at the time of the blaze.

Council officers then visited the property, which was still occupied, and found there were still no fire alarms, a serious breach of the landlord’s property license conditions.

A Financial Penalty Notice of £5,000 was issued to the landlord. 

“Our swift adoption and application of the new powers underlines our commitment to protect tenants from rogue landlords. In this case there was a single breach of the law, but by failing to install fire alarms, even after a blaze in the block, this landlord clearly showed his reckless lack of care for the safety of his tenant” says a Newham council spokesman.

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