Investigating housing offences
When we receive reports of unlicensed properties and breaches of housing legislation, including landlord and tenant law, we will investigate to establish the facts and gather evidence of offences that have been committed.
In most cases we will give 24 hours' prior notice of inspections. However, if we suspect an offence is being committed relating to unlicensed properties or HMO management regulations we can inspect without giving any prior notice. In either case, if we are refused access we can apply to the Magistrates' Court to obtain a warrant. This allows us to enter by force if necessary.
Once we have inspected, we may serve legal notices requiring work to be completed, or information to establish exactly how the property is being occupied and managed. Failing to comply with these notices is an offence.
The investigation process may also include formal interviews under caution, gathering witness statements, and information sharing with other enforcement agencies.
Landlords cannot regain possession of their property using Section 21 Notices whilst a property remains unlicensed.