Swift justice for tenants against rogue landlords
Bad landlords will face on-the-spot fines of up to £30,000 and be forced to repay rent to their tenants as part of a new package of prompter penalties introduced by Hackney Council today.
Landlords or agents who fail to comply with Council instructions to make improvements, let unacceptably overcrowded properties or meet licensing conditions could be slapped with the new fines – with the worst offenders still facing criminal prosecution.
The civil penalties and rent repayment orders will mean the Council can take more immediate action to help tenants facing serious problems – as an alternative to lengthy court proceedings.
The measures are part of the Council’s Better Renting campaign to improve standards for private renters, crack down on the minority of rogue landlords and end extortionate letting fees and charges.
Since the campaign launched in July, the Council has launched the first voluntary letting fee ban scheme in the country, held advice drop-in sessions for renters and launched a consultation on expanding licensing of the borough’s privately rented homes.
Renters who pay an average of nearly £2,000 a month for two-bedroom flat in Hackney deserve homes that are safe, secure and well-maintained by their landlord.
While we’ll still prosecute the most serious offenders, these new fines will give us the powers we need to quickly punish the minority of rogue landlords out to exploit tenants where it hurts – in their pocket.
Whether it’s bolstering our enforcement powers, campaigning for more action from the Government or simply giving advice, we’re determined to get renters in Hackney a better deal.
Two in three private renters in Hackney say their repairs aren’t done when needed, while rent levels have rocketed 20% over the last five years. 34,000 homes are privately rented in the borough – around a third of all households.
Independent research commissioned as part of the Council’s Better Renting campaign revealed that more than one in five Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) contained serious hazards or are in disrepair – over 10% higher than other privately rented properties.
As well as the new fines, the Council is currently consulting on introducing licensing proposals to help change this, including:
- A borough-wide additional licensing scheme meaning all HMOs – not just the 16% covered under the current mandatory licensing scheme – would need to be licensed
- A selective licensing scheme meaning all privately rented non-HMO homes in the three wards most affected by poor conditions – Brownswood, Cazenove and Stoke Newington – would need to be licensed
To respond to the consultation, which closes in early December, visit the consulation page.