“A long-term commitment to better renting” – new plan to tackle rogue landlords approved
Rogue landlords in Hackney could face unlimited fines, criminal convictions and bans from letting out properties after the Council reiterated its commitment to cracking down on poor quality housing and protecting the borough's 34,000 private renters.
The measures are set out in the new Enforcement Policy for Private Sector Housing, approved by the Council's cabinet this week (13 December), which brings together the actions the Council will take to ensure landlords provide good, safe and secure homes for their tenants and tackle the minority who fail to meet their legal requirements.
While the Council will always work with landlords to resolve issues in the first instance, the policy outlines a range of measures that will be used against those who fail to provide good, well-managed homes to their tenants. These include enforcement notices requiring improvements to be made, civil penalties of up to £30,000, Rent Repayment Orders which means landlords have to return rent, and Banning Orders preventing the worst culprits from letting out properties.
The new policy will see the Council maintain its #BetterRenting campaign, which aims to tackle rogue landlords, maintain good conditions within rented homes in Hackney, support private renters and challenge the government to introduce measures to create a fairer private rented sector.
Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic and the continued lack of support from government, we’ve led the way in creating a better system for renters in Hackney – introducing measures requiring landlords to meet higher standards and taking action against those who fail to provide a good, safe home.
The new enforcement policy demonstrates our long-term commitment to better renting in Hackney, showing that we’ll use every power we have to raise standards of accommodation and challenge rogue landlords in the borough, while we continue to make the case to the government for the protections that Hackney’s 34,000 private renters deserve.
Council research estimates that more than one in ten of the over 30,000 privately rented homes in Hackney suffer from serious hazards or disrepair, rising to almost 20% in the worst affected areas and in shared Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Since launching, the #BetterRenting campaign has included:
- New property licensing measures, with nearly 6,000 licence applications for properties where poor conditions are most prevalent, legally committing them to meeting acceptable standards
- Enforcement against rogue landlords, with 27 prosecutions and civil penalties pursued in the last year, including a £22,000 fine for landlords who illegally let a hazardous Clapton property without providing proper washing facilities, and a criminal conviction for a landlord who allowed vulnerable tenants to live in appalling conditions at a converted car garage.
- The Council’s first Hackney Living Rent homes at Bridge House in Homerton, which are aimed at private renters with rents set at a third of local incomes and demonstrates what a responsible landlord looks like through
- Calling on the government to improve conditions in the private rented sector, successfully making the case for an extension of the ban on evictions during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and campaigning for a ban on Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
Find out more: hackney.gov.uk/better-renting