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Enforcement powers

The Council has powers under several Acts of Parliament to take action to secure improvements to homes which pose a health and safety risk to the occupants or members of the public.

The main powers are contained within the Housing Act 2004 and relate to hazards identified under the  Housing Health and Safety Rating System (PDF) [18KB] (opens new window)  . The enforcement options include:

  • serving an improvement notice requiring remedial works to be undertaken
  • making a prohibition order, which prevents the whole or part of the property from being used
  • arranging and carrying out works themselves, where there is an imminent risk of serious harm
  • serving an Overcrowding Notice which will impose a limit on the number of permitted occupants
  • serving a hazard awareness notice, which merely advises that a hazard exists, but does not require any works to be carried out
  • making a demolition order


If a landlord fails to comply with a notice or order served by the Council, the Council has powers to prosecute the landlord or issue a fine of up to £30,000. In some cases it may also 

  • arrange to carry out the work and re-charge the landlord and/or
  • apply to the First Tier Tribunal for an order requiring the landlord to pay back rent he/she received in housing benefits.

Enforcement Decisions

The Buckinghamshire housing enforcement policy [PDF | 323KB] sets out the how the Council makes enforcement decisions and carries out enforcement actions. The Council will normally seek to resolve the matter informally first, before taking formal action.

Charges for Enforcement Action

A charge will be made for the cost of administrative and other expenses involved in serving Improvement Notices and Prohibition Orders.