School campaigners urge Hackney’s renters to have their say as rogue landlord consultation nears close date
Pupils from Cardinal Pole Catholic School in Homerton today urged renters in Hackney to have their say on the Council’s latest measures to tackle rogue landlords, with just five days left to take part in its property licensing consultation.
Representatives from the school council and Hackney Citzens - the Hackney branch of Citizens UK - met with the Hackney Mayor, Philip Glanville, and Mayoral Advisor for Affordability and Private Renting, Cllr Sem Moema, to discuss the proposals, which would require private landlords to have a licence to let out homes in Hackney’s hazard hotspots. In May the pupils helped deliver a petition calling for such a licensing scheme in Hackney after the school council highlighted the difficulties faced by private renters as one of the biggest issues affecting families in Hackney.
The Council has since launched its Better Renting campaign to support Hackney’s 30,000 private renters, including becoming the first local authority to introduce a voluntary letting fee ban and implementing a package of penalties against rogue landlords with fines of up to £30,000.
And the latest proposals under consultation would mean landlords in parts of Stoke Newington and Clapton – where 20% of tenants face critical problems like dangerous boilers, exposed wiring or vermin infestations – would require a Council licence committing them to ensuring their property is of a good standard before letting it out or renewing a tenancy.
Landlords letting Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – homes with two or more households and shared facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms and toilets – anywhere in the borough would also require a licence.
It’s been inspiring to meet with the young pupils at Cardinal Pole Catholic School and see not just their awareness of the issues faced by Hackney’s 30,000 private renters today but also their commitment to creating change and improving our borough.
Up to one in five private renters faces appalling conditions in parts of Hackney, and these measures will give us the powers we need to tackle landlords who exploit renters and make sure their homes are safe, secure and well-maintained.
With less than a week until our consultation closes, it’s crucial that all renters, landlords and residents who experience these issues first hand also respond to this consultation and give their views.
We’ve been working to improve private renting which is a big issue faced by students at the school and the local community. Many people do not feel confident contacting their landlord if they have problems so these changes could help them and make the community a better place – we want as many people as possible to give their opinions on the plans.
We strongly support the property licensing scheme in Hackney. Many people in our member organisations are suffering at the hands of neglectful and exploitative landlords and we are determined to do something about it. Property licensing is an important measure that will help us to identify and deal with bad practise, and drive up standards in the private rented sector.
Hackney Citizens is the Hackney branch of CitizensUK - the home of Community Organising in the UK. There are 24 member organisations in Hackney including faith, education and community groups, working together for the common good.
The consultation on introducing property licensing closes on 3 December 2017. Have your say now.