A Labour councillor on Islington council - which is controlled by the party and has Jeremy Corbyn as a local member and MP - has been appointed as a ‘Private Renters Champion.’
She is Jenny Kay, a freelance research consultant, who is backing a proposal from the council to introduce two new licensing regimes.
Kay says in a statement: “As a private renter in London, I have experienced first-hand the difficulties some tenants face. There are many good landlords, but too often people are being forced to accept poor quality and sometimes unsafe living conditions.
“We hope these latest licensing schemes, if implemented, will help to improve conditions in the private rented sector. Consulting on these schemes is a small but important step, and we want to go further. We will also keep making representations to the government and working with campaigners to make sure the rights of private renters are protected.
“We are sending a clear message that, when a market is broken, Islington council will use all its powers to intervene. We expect landlords to keep their properties in a good condition or face serious consequences.”
Islington council is proposing two new private rental licensing schemes in a follow-up to recent action against what it calls “dodgy letting agents.”
The first new proposal is for a borough-wide scheme licensing houses in multiple occupation.
“The council has found that HMOs have some of Islington’s poorest housing standards with many HMO conversions having inadequate fire safety measures” says the councils.
The second proposal is a selective licensing scheme for one ward, Finsbury Park, which the authority claims “has the highest number of complaints about private rented property in the borough.”
It says that because many people in the area are also facing higher levels of deprivation “they are at greater risk of being taken advantage of by rogue landlords.”
The council says its two licensing proposals will allow it to set minimum standards for property management, including the provision of kitchen and bathroom facilities, room sizes and health and safety in the form of fire, gas and electrical safety checks).
Both schemes are subject to a consultation that runs until November 3.
A council spokesman says: “London’s ongoing housing crisis means that far too many dodgy operators are able to take advantage of people’s desperate need for a home, and are profiting off substandard properties with poor living conditions.
“The council can and does act to protect private renters and we’ve taken significant enforcement action against rogue landlords and dodgy lettings agents recently. Licensing schemes are powerful tools to help us protect private renters and, if agreed, these new schemes will help us to identify and reward good landlords while protecting some of our most marginalised private renters.
“There are a great number of responsible landlords in the borough, and these licensing schemes will help the council to ensure that those conscientious landlords are rewarded, while rogue operators offering poor conditions are more easily identified.”