A council is set to crack down on landlords and property agents committing housing offences in the district.

Braintree Council has agreed to sign up to the civil penalty charge scheme, allowing it to serve on the spot fines to individuals or companies renting out properties.

A penalty charge of up to £30,000 can be served to anyone failing to comply with an improvement notice or anyone breaching managing or licensing regulations in respect of Houses in Multiple Occupation.

Landlords or agents failing to act after an overcrowding notice has been served will also be in line to receive a fine.

Braintree Council must be able to prove "beyond all reasonable doubt" that the offender is guilty of an offence before it issues a civil penalty charge.

The authority says it has signed up to the scheme in a bid to cut down on the number of incidents being taken through the courts.

Council bosses say this can be a "long drawn out process" which result in significant legal costs.

The penalty fine issued will be determined by how many victims are involved and the seriousness of the offence.

Any license holders given two or more civil penalty charges in a 12 month period will be considered for inclusion on the national database for rogue landlords and property agents.