A property consultancy specialising in licensing regimes for privately-let properties says there have been 580 housing prosecutions in London under the Housing Act 2004 in the three years to March 2014.
The most active five councils are Newham with 359 prosecutions, Haringey with 57 prosecutions, Camden on 20, Redbridge on 19 and Southwark with 15.
The prosecutions by councils cover a range of offences including:
- Failing to comply with an Improvement Notice requiring the landlord to resolve serious hazards in the property;
- Failing to comply with a Prohibition Order which stops a landlord from renting out a property due to serious hazards;
- Failing to properly manage a house in multiple occupation (HMO);
- Failing to obtain a licence to rent out the property (HMO, additional or selective licensing); and
- Failing to comply with licence conditions or exceeding the occupancy limit on a licence.
The consultancy, London Property Licensing, says enforcement action in Newham was dramatically stepped up following the implementation of that council’s borough-wide selective and additional schemes in January 2013, under which every private rented property in Newham had to be licensed before being let out.
The number of housing prosecutions in Newham council far exceeds all other London boroughs put together.
The consultancy says eight London councils have taken no Housing Act 2004 prosecutions over this three year period - Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, City of London, Enfield, Havering, Merton and Richmond upon Thames.
“Whilst the lack of prosecutions may reflect areas with a higher compliance rate and an absence of poor quality rented housing, it may also highlight councils that could do more to tackle the very worst landlords” says the consultancy.
However, the consultancy says some councils which were inactive during the period under review - like Brent - “have undertaken several prosecutions in recent months.”