Hackney Council forces rogue landlords to clean up their act – or pay back a year’s rent to tenants
PUBLISHED: 13:52 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:53 22 March 2018
Rogue landlords who leave tenants living in appalling conditions will have to bring their homes up to scratch or pay tenants back up to a year’s rent under new measures passed by Hackney Council.
Powers signed off by the cabinet last night mean the landlords of more than 1,500 properties across the borough will need a licence requiring the homes to be of acceptable standard.
It includes all private landlords in the council’s Brownswood, Cazenove and Stoke Newington wards, and the owners of Hackney’s 4,000 houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) – homes with two or more households and shared facilities.
The move comes as part of the town hall’s Better Renting campaign, which estimates 15 per cent of the 4,700 privately rented homes in the three wards, and one in five HMOs across the borough, have serious problems such as damp, mould, dangerous boilers, exposed wiring and vermin infestations.
Any who don’t get the licence or fall short of the required standards will face a penalty, prosecution leading to a fine or be forced to pay back a year’s rent.
Serious offenders can be served with a banning order, preventing them from letting out a property and placed on a rogue landlords database.
One in three people in Hackney rent privately, and soaring rents mean a two-bed home now costs upwards of £1,800 a month.
The mayor’s advisor for private renting, Cllr Sem Moema, said: “As a long term renter in Hackney, I’ve experienced first hand a sector in which the odds are stacked all too firmly in favour of landlords.
“These new measures are a milestone in our commitment to challenging this and creating a better system for renters in the borough.
“Introducing additional property licensing will mean landlords will have to bring hundreds of homes up to scratch in hazard hotspots where conditions are at their worst.”
The Better Renting campaign aims to protect Hackney’s 33,000 private renting households and tackle landlords who take advantage of them. A voluntary ban on letting fees charged to tenants, on-the-spot fines for rogue landlords, and plans for new living rent homes have all formed part of the project so far.