Stoke Newington and Clapton landlords could be forced to pay for licences before they can rent out properties

Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Isabel Infantes - Credit: Archant

Hackney Council wants to crack down on “appalling housing conditions” by introducing new licences which could cost some landlords upwards of £500 to implement.

Cllr Sem Moema (L), Hackney's mayoral advisor for private renting and housing affordability, at a 'b

Cllr Sem Moema (L), Hackney's mayoral advisor for private renting and housing affordability, at a 'better renting' pop-up stall earlier this year to give private renters advice and help. Picture: Sean Pollock - Credit: Archant

At the moment, mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) only covers buildings of three storeys and above, or five or more households. That works out as just 15pc of HMOs in Hackney, which in fact make up 13pc of all rented homes here.

The council wants to expand its power to include every single landlord letting HMOs – which contain at least two households and share kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities – anywhere in the borough under proposed discretionary new rules, which it is now consulting on.

Private landlords would also have to apply for a licence to let any homes in Stoke Newington and Clapton, which have been identified as “hazard hotspots”.

One in five tenants in those areas have complained to the council about dangerous boilers, exposed wiring or vermin infestations and other “critical problems”, the town hall says.

The idea is to make landlords ensure their property is of a good standard before letting it out or renewing a tenancy.

Anyone letting a property without a licence or who fails to comply with its conditions – like six-monthly inspections and minimum security and safety standards – could face prosecution and an unlimited fine.

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Fees have not yet been set but a council spokesman told the Gazette a five-year licence could cost £1,150 for a HMO and from £450 to £500 for other properties.

A council spokesman said the council would ideally like to license all private properties, but that the existing proposals would ensure they are “doing as much as they can” under the current “discretionary power”, which covers all HMOs and 20pc of other properties.

The council’s housing chief, Cllr Sem Moema, said: “We believe that introducing these licensing measures will give us the powers we need to tackle landlords who exploit renters, and make sure their homes are safe, secure and well-maintained.”

To respond to the consultation, which closes in December, click here.