Crackdown on rogue landlords

Published: Tuesday 27th June 17

Privately rented properties in Wandsworth are to be inspected by the council as part of a drive to improve standards – with fines of up to £30,000 for rogue landlords flouting the law.

Example of conditions the council can help with

A third of all households in Wandsworth, or 42,000, rent privately, and new legislation requires landlords to pay for a licence from the council if they let a property to five or more people that make up more than one household.

The Government will  be expanding the definition of what makes up a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), and this includes accommodation above and beneath commercial premises such as shops.

This new, broader definition means more homes in the borough will require an inspection by officers to ensure national safety requirements are being met before an HMO licence can be issued to the landlord.

The council intends to recruit two extra staff members to handle the additional inspections, a meeting of the Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard on 20 June.

Cllr Clare Salier, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Everyone deserves to live in a safe, well-maintained and high quality home, and it’s important that tenants as well as landlords are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

"The council’s role is to ensure that standards are being met, and we won’t hesitate to take action against rogue landlords that continue to break the law, in order to improve living conditions for private renters.”

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 allows councils to fine landlords who refuse to cooperate up to £30,000; ban them from renting out properties; force them to repay rent to their tenants; and enter their details into a national database. 

A survey of the borough’s privately renting tenants in 2015, based on 736 people who took part, found that 85% were satisfied with their accommodation, but that two in three said the reason they rented privately was because they couldn’t afford to buy a home of their own.

The council employs a team of officers to help ensure tenants live in well maintained accommodation, and to help landlords provide a high quality service, by: 

  • arranging advice and training
  • inspecting properties
  • encouraging tenants to try and resolve issues directly with landlords
  • investigating complaints about disrepair or safety issues
  • serving notices on landlords to carry out repairs
  • if the repairs are not carried out, prosecuting or fining landlords; and
  • carrying out the work and sending the bill to the landlord
  • working with landlords’ associations and the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme to ensure good practice 

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Recent comments

The mass of cables connected to one socket are clearly the responsibility of the tenant, not the landlord. It would seem likely the socket was broken off the wall by the tenant as well. Before you publish further misleading photos like this, give the landlord a right of reply. The idea of random checks on properties smacks of the police "stop and search" policy. Wait for a complaint from the tenant. Most "slum" properties arise from slum tenants, not slum landlords. Start with inspections of social housing, where most tenant dissatisfaction exists.

30 June 2017

I think this is an excellent use of public funds from my taxes helping to keep the most vulnerable safe and comfortable AND potentially penalising those who fail to meet standards of safety and well being in the management of their business of renting properties.

30 June 2017

2 basement properties in Earlsfield Road were not given planning consent and not seen as fit to be lived in. No-one at WBC checked when told that they were rented out. Now they are allowed because they are considered to have "established use" - one "had been used as self-contained flat without planning permission for more than four continuous years, it is therefore immune from planning enforcement action under Section 171b of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) therefore no breach of planning control has occurred." What nonsense?
Celia Blair

28 June 2017

Thats great, who checks Wandsworth property's? should get your house in order before looking elsewhere, how many living in damp conditions? in asbestos filled propertys? in fire traps? how many are overcrowded and living in poorly maintained propertys? many thats the answer.
mr k

28 June 2017

Great, about time too. Question is,why did it have to take Grenfell for this to now happen???

27 June 2017