Newham Council to target criminal landlords with renewed private housing licensing scheme
PUBLISHED: 10:46 19 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:46 19 June 2017
Newham Council has committed to renewing its borough-wide licensing scheme aimed at protecting vulnerable tenants from rogue landlords.
Newham was the first authority in the country to introduce its private rented sector (PRS) licensing scheme in 2013 and its successful implementation has won support from residents, housing charities, parliamentarians and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
Since it’s introduction, the council has made 1,135 prosecutions for housing crimes, accounting for 70 per cent of all prosecutions in london.
In addition, it has recovered over £2.6m a year in additional council tax, banned 28 of the worst criminal landlords from operating in the borough and served 2,170 notices to improve housing conditions and management in private properties.
Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “Newham has been at the forefront in protecting our residents living in the private rented sector.
“We have shown that locally-based solutions, relying on the local knowledge of officers – backed by political will of local politicians – can be highly effective.”
The Newham mayor added that “there is still more work to do” and that Newham officers were still regularly uncovering serious housing issues including over-crowding, illegal conversions, unsafe wiring, dangerous gas installations, inadequate heating, damp and infestation.
“It would be entirely wrong and a backward step for private renters’ rights if one of the first acts of the new government was to deny us the right to continue with the most effective scheme in the country for tackling criminal landlords and protecting vulnerable individuals and families within the private rented sector,” he said.
The council is applying for a new five-year license for when its scheme finishes in December.
Almost half of Newham residents are renting privately and the number of households in Newham reliant on the PRS doubled from 23pc in 2009 to 46pc last year.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan joined a recent enforcement raid and saw first-hand the appalling conditions suffered by exploited tenants.
He said: “I fully support the excellent work councils like Newham are doing to target the worst offenders in their borough.
“I will continue to support them and other boroughs who use licensing schemes effectively to drive up standards in the private rented sector.”