How landlords work with the council: case study

Published: Monday 12th March 18

A third of all homes in the borough are privately rented, and ahead of changes to national regulations later this year the council is holding its annual landlords’ forum later this month.

Property rented out by Carol McEvoy

The event provides an opportunity for landlords and the local authority to discuss the latest legislation including energy efficiency, licensing and enforcement.

There is a variety of ways that Wandsworth Council ensures standards are met within the borough’s privately rented homes, such as by law inspecting and licensing a property with five or more occupiers, known as a house in multiple occupation (HMO).  

Carol McEvoy looks after several properties in the borough and will be attending to hear about the latest guidelines, as well as an update from umbrella organisation the National Landlords Association (NLA).

She arranges a full induction for new tenants, explaining all the fire precautions and how important it is to have consideration for neighbours. Her tenants have direct contact with her dedicated team of support staff who are on hand to get maintenance problems fixed quickly and resolve any other issues they may have with their accommodation.

She said: “The majority of landlords provide good accommodation and do all they can to comply with regulations and safety requirements, but it is not fair to them or their tenants if some landlords try to buck the system and neglect their properties and their tenants, leaving them living in sub-standard and often dangerous flats and houses.

“They are giving the sector a bad name and if they are not competent they should not be working in the rented accommodation sector. I’m really pleased to hear that the council is actively seeking out these unscrupulous landlords and making sure they comply with the regulations.” 

The council has already prosecuted a landlord this year for not licensing an HMO, with a fine of £5,000. Another example was last year when a landlord harassed a tenant into leaving a property and was subsequently prosecuted by the council with fines totalling £18,500.

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

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. 

Cllr Clare Salier, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The council provides a range of services both for privately renting tenants and for landlords, including on meeting the latest national standards for rented homes. While most landlords offer good quality accommodation, we won’t hesitate to take action against those who flout regulations.”

Wandsworth 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
  • 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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Carol McEvoy

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