COPELAND council looks set to get more powers to tackle rogue landlords under new plans outlined today.

The policy voted through by the executive this afternoon (March 12) will now go before the full council and has been recommended for approval.

The move would bring the borough authority in line with changes in the law surrounding Houses of Multiple Occupation, residential properties where ‘common areas’ are shared by more than one household.

The new regulations were introduced in October to help local authorities to deal with rogue landlords and drive up standards in the private sector.

How the policy is enforced will depend on individual circumstances but the options available to the council include serving a formal notice or order and the issuing of a penalty charge notice.

Council officers can also slap dishonest or irresponsible landlords with cautions or begin prosecutions as well as revoking or refusing to grant licences.

Enforcement teams can take ‘emergency action’ when it it is not possible to contact the landlord or get them to co-operate.

When there is an “imminent risk” of serious harm to the people who live in the house, officers can carry out work without serving a legal notice.

Situations that would trigger council intervention include the refusal to carry out works, the absence of heating in cold weather and lack of hot weather and asbestos exposure.

But Julie Friend, Housing Strategy and Development Officer, stressed that as a team their first action was to “informally give advice”.

Only if landlords persistently fail to work with the council to address issues or an emergency arises, would tougher action be taken.

The Executive noted the updated Housing Enforcement Policy, and endorsed it for full council to approve.