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Landlords in Hackney given two months to get a licence as scheme is rolled out

PUBLISHED: 10:50 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:09 02 October 2018

The kinds of conditions Hackney Council is hoping to clamp down on, seen at a privately rented home in Hackney Downs last year. Picture: Hackney Council

The kinds of conditions Hackney Council is hoping to clamp down on, seen at a privately rented home in Hackney Downs last year. Picture: Hackney Council

Archant

Landlords in three problem-hit Hackney areas will need to apply for a licence within the next two months or face a potential fine of £30,000 – or even prosecution.

A new council scheme aiming to clamp down on rogue landlords has gone live this week. It requires homeowners renting out their properties in Brownswood, Cazenove and Stoke Newington to hold a licence committing them to keep their property safe and treat tenants fairly.

Those areas were chosen because the council reckons 15 per cent of the 4,700 privately rented homes there have serious problems such as damp, mould, dangerous boilers, exposed wiring and vermin infestations.

Those who don’t get licensed or fail to comply with the conditions will face fixed penalties of up to £30,000, a prosecution with unlimited fine, or be forced to pay tenants back up to a year’s rent. Serious offenders can be banned from letting homes completely and placed on a rogue landlords database.

Last month the Gazette reported landlords were complaining they had received no information about the imminent scheme or what they needed to do to meet the requirements.

Vishal Vora, began renting out his Stoke Newington home privately after moving to Berlin with his family. He said the consensus among his landlord friends was that the penalties were really heavy.

He said: “I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a model landlord but my tenants are happy and anything they need, I do.

“There are rogue landlords and there needs to be a mechanism to catch them, but to us it just feels they are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. A lot of landlords are worried.”

The town hall is doubling the size of its enforcement team to ensure the licences are upheld.

Hackney’s director for housing Kim Wright said: “Many of Hackney’s landlords provide a good, professional service, and we’re looking forward to working with them to create better conditions for renters.

“But these new measures – along with our expanded team – will tackle those who don’t treat renters fairly or keep their homes safe.”

Landlords of Hackney’s 4,000 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will also now need a licence.

For details, see hackney.gov.uk/property-licensing.

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