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Hackney Council takes legal action against landlords for breaching conditions of new HMO licences

PUBLISHED: 17:13 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 03 September 2019

Cllr Sem Moema (L), Hackney's mayoral advisor for private renting and housing affordability, gives private renters advice and help. Picture: Sean Pollock

Cllr Sem Moema (L), Hackney's mayoral advisor for private renting and housing affordability, gives private renters advice and help. Picture: Sean Pollock

Sean Pollock Photographer

Hackney Council is taking four landlords to court for breaching conditions of the new HMO licences.

The town hall brought in a policy in October requiring owners of the 4,000 houses in multiple occupation (HMO) in the borough to get a licence.

The scheme is part of the Better Renting campaign to target rogue landlords, and the most severe cases have now led to legal action.

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A selective licensing scheme was also brought in for landlords renting out any home in the most problematic areas - Brownswood, Cazenove and Stoke Newington wards. That has been paused until later this month while issues are resolved regarding how many licences are needed for landlords who own multiple flats in the same building.

Cllr Sem Moema, mayoral advisor for private renting and housing affordability, said: "Property licensing is a key part of our crackdown on rogue landlords, and means renters who are most likely to experience hazards and poor treatment can finally get the protection they deserve."

Ahead of the scheme being rolled out, landlords told the Gazette they had been given little information on the scheme and moaned the council was "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut".

Enforcement of the scheme was delayed until March due to so few landlords actually applying for licences. As of February three quarters of HMO landlords had yet to apply.

Punishments include a fine of up to £30,000 or being hauled in front of magistrates.

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