A statement from Hackney council in north east London says those who break its licensing provisions for the private rental sector “have nowhere to hide.”
The Labour-dominated authority says that in parts of the borough one in five renters “suffer from issues like cold homes, disrepair, or damp and mould” and that as a result of extensions to its licensing regimes no fewer than 10,000 homes in Hackney now require a licence.
It says there’s already been a crackdown on some 4,000 larger HMOs “with court dates set in for the new year for the first three offenders accused of breaching licensing conditions and HMO management regulations.”
According to councillor Sem Moema, whose title is ‘mayoral adviser for private renting and housing affordability’, for too long those breaking licensing regulations ”have been able to get away with exploiting a lack of regulation to profit from letting out homes in unacceptable condition.”
She promises “tough penalties” for those caught in future crackdowns.
Hackney council has also in recent weeks called on the government to scrap Section 21 eviction powers.
Specifically it’s demanding the scrapping of proposals for break clauses and fixed-term assured tenancies, “which could easily be abused by landlords who wish to unfairly evict tenants” and Demanding that landlords pay tenants’ relocation costs if they have to move out because the property is being sold.
Hackney also advocates rent controls “to prevent retaliatory rent hikes”, the introduction of notice periods of at least six months, and property registers to ensure individual apartments and houses are improved.