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New charges for rogue landlords in Southend
7:10pm Friday 25th January 2013 in News
ROGUE landlords will be stung with huge admin bills to try to get them to change their ways.
Southend Council has proposed introducing £400 charges every time it is forced to demand action from troublesome property owners.
The move, which could generate thousands of pounds, comes as the authority is forced to plug a £10million black hole in its budget for next year.
Jacqui Lansley, the council’s head of community strategy and development, said it would have a dual effect of raising money and encouraging landlords to act.
She said: “Wherever possible we seek to work co-operatively with landlords and managing agents to resolve problems informally.
“However, in those cases where landlords refuse to comply, these charges should help deter them from not maintaining their properties.”
Council chiefs are responsible for monitoring the state of privately-rented homes in the borough and ordering to landlords to improve if necessary.
At the moment, there is no fee when such an order is issued.
However, if the new plans are adopted as part of the 2013/14 budget proposals, landlords will be hit with a £400 charge for every notice they receive, including improvement notices, prohibition orders and management orders.
Ms Lansley said: “The new charges relate to enforcement work undertaken by the council where informal enforcement and liaison with a landlord has proved unsuccessful and a formal enforcement notice or order has proved necessary.
“The £400 charge applied in the majority of cases was calculated following an extensive internal review of the amount of officer hours involved in serving such notices and orders, and recovering the costs of officer time involved.”