Local Authorities

Justice For Tenants is a non-profit organisation that has received over £450,000 of initial funding from the health charity Impact on Urban Health to support local authorities in effectively using Civil Financial Penalties.

All our support services are designed around an understanding of the constrained realities of local authority PRS enforcement. JFT has, with the support of central govt. and the ACEHO, created a model financial penalty policy for local authority use following detailed review of relevant guidance, the 54 procedural precedents relating to financial penalties, and over half of all FTT appeal decisions.

Many local authorities are changing their approach to Civil Financial Penalties because:

1)   The Morjaria v Leicester CC precedent makes most local authority CPN policies defective

2)   The Renters Reform Bill imposes a statutory duty upon local authorities to issue CPNs or criminally prosecute for a wide variety of new offences, requiring every local authority to carry out 40+ CPNs per year as a minimum. These statutory duties were originally in clause 58 of the RRB, but are now in clause 79 following recent amendments (accurate as of 11 December 2023).

Free Civil Financial Penalty Support Services for Local Authorities

The following services have been provided to local authorities and are available for all local authorities:

  • Consultation, review and/or re-drafting of Civil Financial Penalty policies incorporating authority-specific licence conditions
  • Access to the 10-minute CPN generator. It takes 10 minutes for an officer to create all the notices that require serving and internal review documentation, with limited scope for human error.
  • Detailed CPD training for your team on best practices for carrying out Financial Penalties, key precedents, and other common issues (double counting, the Totality Principle, etc)
  • A support centre so that any staff member can feel supported and get advice on how to progress a specific case, either by email or video call
  • Review or drafting of Notices of Intent and Final Notices
  • Submission of evidence bundles and statements of case in the Residential Property Tribunal
  • Advocacy in Tribunal hearings
  • Drafting press releases following successful outcomes
  • Regular training to ensure new staff get trained on Civil Financial Penalties
  • Amendments to Civil Financial Penalty policies and templates as new precedents and legislation (such as the Renters Reform Bill) come into force

JFT’s charitable funding allows every local authority to have £5,000 (39 hours) of free services. That is enough to ensure drafting an updated financial penalty policy, onboarding to the CPN Generator and training for the whole team, 5+ hours of further one-to-one support, evidence submission and advocacy for at least one Tribunal appeal hearing.

Paid-for services are available on a call-off basis beyond the initial £5,000 of free services. There is no obligation to use any paid-for services to access the £5,000 of free services.

Other support services for Local Authorities

The following services are free to local authorities:

  • Referrals and signposting for tenants entitled to Rent Repayment Orders. JFT will support or represent tenants to achieve some of the enforcement aims.
  • Recovery of housing benefit and the housing element of universal credit via Rent Repayment Orders (recovered funds are ringfenced for your PRS enforcement work)
  • Information sharing – every month, a list of properties where we are bringing Rent Repayment Orders is provided, and an officer can request our 300-page Evidence bundle proving the breach via tenancy agreements, proof of rent payments etc
  • Uncovering unlicensed properties, bringing properties into the remit of licensing schemes without the need to inspect

Moving Forward

Please get in touch with Al McClenahan to discuss how JFT can help you and your team.

Justice For Tenants is a non-profit organisation with charitable funding. JFT holds the appropriate insurances and policies for working with local authority colleagues.