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