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Fed up with rocketing private rents, and rogue landlords? So are we: sign the petition

RENTERS are being reminded of their rights and responsibilities as part of a fortnight of action by the Council to put private renting in the spotlight.

Posters are currently on streets all over the borough not only highlighting the legal rights of tenants who rent privately, but also inviting them to sign a petition to the government calling for a range of legislative changes to improve their living conditions.

Thousands of landlords across the borough are also being written to, to update them of recent changes in the law and also to remind them of their responsibilities.

The Council’s ‘10 Steps to better private renting’ petition launched last year, and since then the government has agreed, in part, to four of the Council’s requests - compulsory installation of smoke alarms; making retaliatory evictions harder; national bans for rogue landlords; and for lettings agents to display certain fees.

Other proposals that the Council is pushing for include inflation-capped rents; longer tenancies; asking the government to publish a list of convicted landlords and letting agents; fast-tracking property licensing schemes; a national quality kitemark for good accommodation; paying housing benefit direct to landlords offering longer tenancies and stable rents; a public register of landlords and properties; compulsory protection for rent and fees paid, in case a lettings agent goes into administration or misappropriates funds; landlords publishing utility bills; lettings agents explaining all their fees; and mandatory five-year electrical tests.

The Council is also supporting a campaign by local housing group Digs to end discrimination by some landlords and lettings agents against housing benefits claimants – otherwise known as ‘no DSS’.

Cllr Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “It is crucial that both renters and landlords are aware of their rights and responsibilities, while amid ongoing cuts local authorities like Hackney continue to do all they can to help improve conditions. However, we are also asking the government to modernise legislation to give all those involved a fair deal.”

To sign the petition, and find out more about the 10 Steps to better private renting campaign, please visit www.hackney.gov.uk/10-steps

As of last year, lettings agents must now display their fees online and in shops. A checklist to help prospective renters understand if a letting agent is complying with the law is available online at www.hackney.gov.uk/lettings-agents