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Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

Enforcement

133.Section 109 states that local weights and measures authorities (which in Scotland are local authorities) have a duty to enforce this Part of the Act.

134.The powers of officers of enforcement authorities to require documents are set out in section 110. The enforcement officer may require a person they believe has a duty to provide prescribed documents to do so, in a legible form, and they may take copies of any document. They can only require this up to six months from the last day the person appeared to the enforcement officer to have a duty. Any request by an enforcement officer for a prescribed document must be complied with within seven days of the request. A request need not be complied with if there is a reasonable excuse for not doing so.

135.Where the enforcement officer believes that a person has breached the duty to provide information, or that the information provided was not authentic, the enforcement officer may give that person a penalty charge notice, under section 111. This must be within a period of not more than six months from when the breach was believed to have taken place. Provisions relating to penalty charges are set out in schedule 3. This states the information that must be included on the penalty charge notice, including provisions on the right to review. The penalty charge will be £500 or such other lesser amount specified by regulations and the period for paying the penalty charge will be 28 days from the service of the notice, but this may be extended by the enforcement authority. If the recipient of the charge requests a review, then the enforcement authority must consider representations and the circumstances of the case and decide whether to confirm or withdraw the notice. They must give notice of their decision to the recipient. The penalty charge must be withdrawn if the authority is satisfied that the recipient did not commit the breach of duty which resulted in the notice being served, the notice was not given within six months of the date that it appeared the duty was breached or that the notice did not comply with the other requirements of schedule 3. The enforcement authority may also withdraw the penalty charge notice if it is satisfied that the recipient is unlikely to commit a further breach of the duty specified in the notice.

136.There is a right to appeal to the sheriff within 28 days of the enforcement authority review decision notice being served, although the sheriff can allow an appeal to be lodged after that date. The appeal must be on one of the grounds set out in paragraph 5(4) of schedule 3. The sheriff can either uphold or quash the notice. The sheriff’s decision can be further appealed to the sheriff principal on a point of law.

137.The local authority can recover the penalty charge as a debt. Proceeding to recover the penalty charge can only start after the period for payment specified in the notice, after any appeal period or 28 days after any appeal determination or the appeal is withdrawn. Certification by the enforcement authority is sufficient evidence of non-payment. If the notice is withdrawn or quashed, any payment towards the charge should be refunded.

138.The Scottish Ministers can make regulations on the form of notices in this Part, circumstances where penalty charge notices may not be given, and methods by which penalty charges may be paid.

139.Section 112 makes it an offence to obstruct an enforcement officer or to purport to be an enforcement officer, in relation to the powers to require documents or serve penalty notices. On summary conviction a person is liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

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