December 9 2013 Latest news:
by Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Friday, November 16, 2012
Private landlords in Newham must license their properties as Newham Council introduces mandatory licensing.
The council is the only one in England, so far, to introduce licensing of private rental properties on its turf.
It is estimated there are 35,000 such properties in the borough (one in three of all the borough’s households), all of which will need to be licensed.
The council will be charging £150 for applications made before the end of the yea but the fee will go up to £500 for the five-year license from the beginning of 2013. Those who fail to license face fines of up to £20,000.
The scheme was approved by councillors at a Cabinet meeting in June 2012 and will come into force in the New Year.
The radical move comes after the borough announced the creation of a task force to combat ’sheds with beds’. These are illegal ramshackle buildings built at the bottom of gardens which often house tenants living in appalling squalor, exploited by rogue landlords.
The scheme is backed by national housing charity Shelter which has urged other councils to follow Newham’s lead.
Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “This scheme shows that Newham is leading the country when it comes to tackling bad landlords who flout the law.
“We want to ensure that private sector rented properties are well managed and meet a good standard. We also want to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour that is sometimes associated with bad private sector rented housing.
“There are good landlords in Newham and we want to work with them. Unfortunately there are also some unscrupulous ones – which these proposals would target.”
Sir Robin added: “We will never accept private sector tenants being directly exploited by landlords who force them to live in dangerous and unacceptable conditions.“Good landlords have nothing to fear from this scheme. For the bad ones, this a clear message they must clean up their act – or pay the price.
“One bad house can drag down a whole street. We are doing this for the community.”
Kay Boycott, director of communications, policy and campaigns at Shelter, said: “We are delighted to hear that Newham Council will be introducing this scheme, which wll help protect vulnerable tenants from rogue landlords who are making their tenants’ lives hell.”
Details of the scheme can be found on Newham Council’s website: http://www.newham.gov.uk/housing/privatesectorhousing.htm