Council cracks down on rogue landlords as new photos emerge showing ‘extreme side’ of Hackney’s rental sector
PUBLISHED: 15:39 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:39 18 September 2020
Private renters are being urged to report health hazards, dangerous living conditions and mistreatment from landlords to Hackney Council so they can crack down on rogue landlords - as new photos show some of the horrendous conditions tenants have been forced to endure during the coronavirus lockdown.
Hazardous electrics, bars on windows preventing emergency escape, undersized bedrooms without natural light or ventilation, and showers placed above toilets are just some of the horrific conditions council enforcement officers came across this summer.
The council is concerned the pandemic is being used by some landlords as an excuse to ignore their legal responsibility to keep properties safe.
Two years ago the council introduced a scheme requiring landlords to hold a licence to let out properties in Brownswood, Cazenove and Stoke Newington wards - where an estimated 15 per cent of rented homes have serious problems like damp, mould, dangerous boilers, exposed wiring and vermin infestations.
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Those letting out houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) - where two or more households live sharing facilities - across the borough also need to hold the licence.
But the council has seen a decrease in licence applications since the coronavirus pandemic, and is worried landlords are shirking their legal responsibilities.
The council’s housing chief, Cllr Sem Moema, said: “These pictures may show the extreme side of Hackney’s private rented sector, but every example of landlords failing to provide safe standards or ignoring their legal responsibilities is putting the health of their tenants at risk. Sadly these cases are all too common.
“The lockdown has shown just how important a safe, secure and comfortable home is, and as we look to rebuild a better Hackney from the pandemic, we’ll use every power we have to challenge landlords who fail to provide this for their tenants.
“Our message to landlords is clear – get the licence you need and abide by its conditions, or we’ll take action.”
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