Rogue landlords in South Tyneside could be fined up to £30,000 after members of the council approved a new housing policy.
Councillors last night agreed to the adoption of the Private Sector Civil Penalties Policy, which will allow the council to issue private landlords with fixed penalty notices as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences.
Fines of between £600 and £30,000 can be imposed for offences around licensing, overcrowding and the management of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The amount fined would depend on various factors including the severity of the offence.
Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: "We are committed to driving up housing standards and ensuring that properties in the private rented sector are well-managed, decent and safe for tenants.
"The majority of landlords operate in a legal and professional manner and work to ensure that their properties meet the required standards, but unfortunately there are some who poorly manage and maintain property and, in some cases, knowingly flout the law.
"This policy will give us another weapon in our amoury to tackle issues in the private rented sector and encourage swift action from landlords to resolve problems."
Any fines will be channelled back into housing enforcement activity.