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Three quarters of Hackney landlords haven’t applied for licences and could face fines or prosecution

PUBLISHED: 15:45 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:45 28 February 2019

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

Archant

Three quarters of Hackney landlords ordered to pay for a licence have yet to do so – and could face “hefty fines” and prosecution from tomorrow.

Vishal Vora who lives on a street with a gated entrance which people keep parking in front of, even though there is a double yellow line. The mayor has said he must put in a request every single time this happens instead of the council just increasing the enforcement of parking regulations on the street (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)Vishal Vora who lives on a street with a gated entrance which people keep parking in front of, even though there is a double yellow line. The mayor has said he must put in a request every single time this happens instead of the council just increasing the enforcement of parking regulations on the street (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

The council scheme, which aims to crack down on rogue landlords, was rolled out in October with a grace period of two months. That was then extended due to low take up until the end of this month.

But a report ahead of that deadline shows that as of last week, only 2,134 of the 9,026 landlords required to apply for a licence have done so. That’s 23.6 per cent.

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

Those that need a licence include property owners renting out homes in the three most problem-hit areas of the borough – Brownswood, Cazenove and Stoke Newington – and the owners of the borough’s 4,000 HMOs with two or more households and shared facilities.

Cllr Sem Moema (L), Hackney's mayoral advisor for private renting and housing affordability, at Monday's pop-up stall to give private renters advice and help. Picture: Sean PollockCllr Sem Moema (L), Hackney's mayoral advisor for private renting and housing affordability, at Monday's pop-up stall to give private renters advice and help. Picture: Sean Pollock

The scheme was announced in March as part of the council’s Better Renting campaign, which estimated 4,700 privately rented homes in the three wards, and one in five HMOs across the borough, had serious problems such as damp, mould, dangerous boilers, exposed wiring and vermin infestations.

Landlords in the three worst wards are being charged £500 for a five-year licence, or £425 for those that are accredited. HMO owners have to pay £950, or £875 if accredited.

The money goes towards the cost of managing the scheme, and the council makes no profit.

In September landlord Vishal Vora slammed the move. He said: “There are rogue landlords and there needs to be a mechanism to catch them, but to us it just feels they are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. A lot of landlords are worried.”

But Cllr Sem Moema, the mayor’s advisor for private renting, said the measures were needed to stop private renters being exploited by people renting out substandard homes.

She said: “These new measures are a big part of our commitment to tackling this and creating a better renting system by ensuring those most likely to suffer mistreatment and poor conditions get the protection they deserve.

“We’ve made a big push to ensure landlords are aware of these new regulations and have given those who need a licence plenty of time to apply. Any who do not will risk enforcement action being against them, including hefty fines and criminal prosecution”.

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