William Eichler 09 March 2020

Next mayor should ‘step up’ fight against rogue landlords, group says

Half of London’s boroughs did not fine any landlords for letting out unsafe homes in the past year, new research reveals.

Generation Rent, a group representing private renters, found that in the year to 26 February, the Greater London Authority’s website recorded 292 fines issued by 17 London boroughs, totalling £1.04m.

This is down on the previous 12 months, when landlords were fined £1.66m for 433 offences.

Camden has been the most successful council in taking action against criminal landlords over the past two years, overseeing more than £750,000 in fines.

In the past year, Newham, Brent, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest councils have seen fines fall by more than half, while Westminster, Hounslow and Haringey have more than doubled theirs.

Fifteen councils did not record a single fine on the GLA rogue landlord database. Nine councils did not prosecute or issue a civil penalty to a single landlord in the last two years.

In 130 of the 292 cases recorded in the last 12 months, the tenant would have been entitled to reclaim up to 12 months’ rent from the landlord through a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) because their landlord had failed to either obtain a licence or make improvements to the property ordered by the council.

However, according to separate data obtained by Generation Rent through Freedom of Information requests, just six councils helped renters apply for RROs in 2018-19, with a total of 20 tenants getting assistance.

Generation Rent says the winner of the mayoral election could ‘step up’ the fight against criminal landlords overnight by letting tenants check online if their home needs and has a licence.

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