‘No excuses’ for rogue landlords – property licensing crackdown begins
Rogue landlords in Hackney’s hazard hotspots have been warned they have nowhere to hide after a newly-expanded enforcement team was given the go-ahead to begin a crackdown on dangerous conditions and mistreatment of private renters last night (16 September).
The new powers, first agreed last year and finalised at the Council’s Cabinet, mean that landlords of more than 4,000 privately rented homes in Brownswood, Cazenove and Stoke Newington wards need to hold a licence committing them to keeping properties safe and treating tenants fairly. One in five renters in these areas suffer from issues like cold homes, disrepair, or damp and mould.
The income from the license fees, confirmed last night, will help fund a double-sized licensing team that will inspect properties, work with landlords to ensure they meet the right standards, and take tough measures against those who don’t comply – including penalty charges of up to £30,000 or prosecution which could lead to an unlimited fine, or bans from letting homes completely.
A similar crackdown on around 4,000 larger shared rental properties across the borough – called Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – began this summer, with court dates set in for the new year for the first three offenders accused of breaching licensing conditions and HMO management regulations.
For too long rogue landlords have been able to get away with exploiting a lack of regulation to profit from letting out homes in unacceptable condition.
Our property licensing measures are addressing this imbalance, giving protection to thousands of renters who, by paying exorbitant rents just for somewhere to live, are already on the frontline of Hackney’s housing crisis.
Landlords have long known that these changes are coming and – with plans to inspect every single property affected – those breaking the law can have no excuses when we issue tough penalties for not having the licence they need or bringing their properties up to scratch.
The measures are part of the Council’s #BetterRenting campaign, which is creating a better deal for private renters in the borough and making the case for a fairer system for the rented sector nationally. It comes after the Council’s response to government proposals to ban Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions last week, which followed a Council-backed End Unfair Evictions campaign.