Under proposals being considered by the Scottish Executive, councils will be able to repair the property of negligent private owners and then bill them for the work.
They will also be able to serve maintenance orders on owners who have persistently failed to maintain common areas, requiring the owners to produce a maintenance plan for their property.
Councils may also be given a new area-based power to improve standards in locations where the maintenance of private housing is poor.
'We want people to take responsibility for their property. But where people don't take responsibility and this impacts on others, then we need to act,' she said.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said it was confident the powers would lead to improvements in the overall standard of private sector housing in Scotland.
'We accept local government has a crucial role to play in the quest to meet Scotland's housing needs, and hope that councils are given adequate resources to effectively undertake the extra responsibilities proposed in the paper,' said a COSLA spokesperson.
The consultation on Maintaining houses, preserving homes will run until October.