Twelve landlords in Waltham Forest have been prosecuted for not signing up to a council Private Rented Property Licencing scheme, and given fines and costs of over £60,000.
The council launched the scheme a year ago and requires all landlords operating in the borough to have a separate licence for each property they rent out in the private sector.
There have been 19,000 licence applications made by landlords since the launch.
But court action has now been taken against landlords who, the council claims, ignored warnings about the need to obtain a licence. Twelve have already been prosecuted, and some have been ordered to pay fines and costs of over £10,000 after being found guilty.
The council says it is conducting regular ‘action days’ using intelligence to uncover landlords who, it says, are shirking their responsibility to obtain a licence, and also to identify properties where poor living conditions are suspected.
Over 7,500 properties have been visited during action days so far.
A statement from the council claims: “Officers have uncovered very poor living conditions in the private rented sector, including a property that was claiming to be owner occupied, but was actually being rented by 11 people living in extremely cramped conditions. In cases like this the landlords will be given notice to make the required improvements, or they could face further action from the council including prosecution.”