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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

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

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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.

Cllr Sem Moema (L), Hackney's mayoral advisor for private renting and housing affordability, at last year's launch of the Better Renting campaign to give private renters advice and help. Picture: Sean PollockCllr Sem Moema (L), Hackney's mayoral advisor for private renting and housing affordability, at last year's launch of the Better Renting campaign to give private renters advice and help. Picture: Sean Pollock

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.

Grim conditions at a private rented home in Hackney, photographed by council officers last year. A family was living here while the landlord carried out major building works. Picture: Hackney CouncilGrim conditions at a private rented home in Hackney, photographed by council officers last year. A family was living here while the landlord carried out major building works. Picture: Hackney Council

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.

Grim conditions at a private rented home in Hackney, photographed by council officers last year. A family was living here while the landlord carried out major building works. Picture: Hackney CouncilGrim conditions at a private rented home in Hackney, photographed by council officers last year. A family was living here while the landlord carried out major building works. Picture: Hackney Council

“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.


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