Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales says unscrupulous landlords are bad for everyone

Sir Robin Wales wants local authorities to have powers to enforce the minimum wage

Sir Robin Wales wants local authorities to have powers to enforce the minimum wage - Credit: Archant

Emma Reynolds MP, the Shadow Housing Minister, came to Newham last week to hear about the impacts of London’s housing crisis from 10 London councils. Before the meeting she went to see the terrible conditions and anti-social behaviour caused by criminal landlords operating in our private rented sector.

She met a family of four in Plaistow, living in a single room of an overcrowded, unsafe six-bedroom flat. They share a bathroom and kitchen with people they do not even know.

Their landlord deserves to join the other 224 criminal landlords we have prosecuted since we introduced licensing for all private rented properties across Newham last year.

Four out of every 10 Newham residents live in a total of 40,000 privately rented properties, paying a total of £600 million in rent every year.

A small minority of landlords have seen the opportunity to profit from the misery of others by overcrowding and neglecting their properties. When a landlord rips off a tenant it leads to a lack of respect all round.

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That impacts not just individual properties but whole areas with excess litter and an increase in anti-social behaviour.

Since Margaret Thatcher destroyed social housing in the 1980s by selling off council homes without building replacements, it has become harder and harder to provide decent homes for local people.

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Newham Council is playing its part, including setting up a company to build 3,000 new homes and buy a further 500 for local people to rent.

Every Newham resident deserves a decent roof over their head and we are working hard to provide it. However London’s housing crisis will only begin to be solved when national government has both the courage and the funding to kick start a massive building programme of houses to buy and rent at levels which are truly affordable.

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