Hackney Council set to pilot own lettings agency

Cllr Brett

Cllr Brett - Credit: Archant

A council-run lettings agency addressing the lack of affordable housing in Hackney’s private sector is to be piloted.

Hackney Council will this week update landlords about the proposal which was mooted more than ago.

Cllr Will Brett, the Labour group’s campaigns officer, who has been pushing for the proposal to be implemented alongside Cllr Philip Glanville, said: “Twice as many people rent privately in Hackney than did so 10 years ago, and many renters are families with children.

“We want to make sure Hackney renters can live comfortably, safely and in the knowledge that they won’t be forced out by massive, unexpected rent rises.”

Council figures show the average monthly rent in Hackney is £2,125 – more than £1,000 a month more than London’s average.

And the substantial fees imposed by letting agents, which can be as much as £500, have added to the growing cost of moving.

Cllr Brett added: “That’s why we’re campaigning to improve conditions in the private rented sector. A Labour government will make three-year tenancies the norm and ban letting agents’ fees. But in Hackney we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can in the meantime.

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“We’re talking to as many Hackney renters as possible and getting a clearer picture of where there are problems. That way we can intervene where we can, and help make conditions better.”

Cllr Glanville, cabinet member for housing, said: “Hackney Council passed a motion on improving the private rented sector at full council.

“One key aspect of the motion was the development of a council-run letting agency; I am pleased to say this social letting agency is in the process of being set up and will provide another avenue for residents to find good quality rental properties.”

The letting agency bid has been in the pipeline for a year.

It would tackle the scourge of rogue landlords responsible for sky-rocketing rents.

The standards of the private sector housing would be improved and the council would have the power to take legal action to fight poor housing conditions.

The plan would also enable the local authority to work with registered social landlords to impose a set of universally recognised standards.