Housing enforcement guidance

Other relevant housing legislation

This section looks at some of the more commonly used legislation, but is not an exhaustive list. Any relevant legislation may be used depending on specific circumstances.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

These regulations place three duties on landlords in the private rented sector:

  • to ensure there is a smoke alarm on every storey of their property
  • to ensure there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as a living room which contains a solid fuel-burning combustion appliance
  • to ensure that alarms are in proper working order at the start of a new tenancy

The regulations require us to serve a remedial notice where there are reasonable grounds to believe the landlord has not complied with any of the three duties. If a landlord fails to comply with the remedial notice within 28 days of the notice being served, we have a duty (where the occupier consents) to arrange remedial action, within 28 days of such consent, in order to ensure that tenants are protected by working alarms. We may also, within a 6 week period, impose a civil penalty charge on landlords who are in breach of their duty to comply with the remedial notice.

A local housing authority must prepare and publish a statement of principles which it proposes to follow in determining the amount of penalty charge. The statement of principles is contained in Appendix 2 and sets out the charges as:

  • £2,500 for the first breach of complying with a remedial notice
  • £5,000 for each subsequent breach

Letting agents redress scheme

The Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to belong to a scheme etc.) (England) Order 2014 makes it a legal requirement for any person who engages in lettings agency work and/or property management work in England to join a government approved redress scheme.

In the event of a failure to remedy a breach following service of notices, we may impose a fine up to £5000. The authority must give written notice of the intention to impose a penalty setting out the reasons and the amount. The lettings agent or property manager will have 28 days to make written representations or objections to the authority.

Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

These regulations require landlords to ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years. They must obtain an inspection and test report giving the results and setting the date for the next inspection and test. A copy must be given to existing tenants or to prospective tenants and supplied to the local authority within 7 days of a request.

Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, this must be completed within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report. The landlord should give written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.

Care must be taken in choosing a qualified and competent contractor that meets the requirements in the legislation otherwise inspection and test reports will not be accepted as valid.

Notices can be served requiring a copy of the inspection and test report, requiring works to be carried out, requiring urgent works to be carried out and advising that we will undertake remedial works recharging all costs incurred. Civil penalties can be applied in cases on non-compliance, further details in the prosecution or civil penalty section.

Public Health Act 1936 - filthy and verminous premises

Powers are available to require cleaning of filthy and verminous premises. Conditions need to be extreme such as large accumulations of human or animal faeces or rotting food or severe pest infestation and there is a significant nuisance to adjoining premises or a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupier.

Cases need to be treated sensitively and without judgement and as cleaning activity rarely brings about long term change this will only be carried out in partnership with Adult and Community Services and other relevant organisations.

If the property is tenanted, we will seek to involve the landlord in the process.

Empty homes

The full range of housing and public health enforcement options are available to be used for empty homes, depending on taking the relevant factors into consideration, to prevent deterioration of condition and blight to the neighbourhood. This will include consideration of enforced sale and compulsory purchase orders where all other options have been exhausted.