Pressure group Generation Rent claims half of London’s councils did not fine any landlords for letting out unsafe homes in the past year - and it’s angry about it.
The group says it’s analysed the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker established by the Greater London Authority, and it claims that in the year to February 26 it recorded 292 fines issued by 17 London boroughs, totalling £1.04m.
This is down on the previous 12 months, when landlords were fined £1.66m for 433 offences.
In a statement this morning Generation Rent says 130,000 private rented homes in London do not have the correct licence - although it does not source that claim.
The statement says: “In the last year 15 councils did not record a single fine on the GLA rogue landlord database. Nine councils did not prosecute or issue a civil penalty to a single landlord in the last two years: Bexley, Bromley, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston, Lewisham, Merton and Sutton.”
In 130 of the 292 cases recorded in the last 12 months, the tenant would have been entitled to reclaim up to 12 months’ rent from the landlord through a Rent Repayment Order because their landlord had failed to either obtain a licence or make improvements to the property ordered by the council.
But, according to separate data obtained by Generation Rent through Freedom of Information requests, just six councils helped renters apply for RROs in 2018-19, with a total of 20 tenants getting assistance.
Dan Wilson Craw, Generation Rent’s director, says: “Laws to keep our homes safe only mean anything if they are enforced, and if landlords understand the consequences of cutting corners. Despite squalid conditions facing many of London’s renters, councils have a very mixed record on bringing the landlords responsible to justice.
“The next Mayor of London could turn this around by making it easier for renters to use Rent Repayment Orders against criminal landlords. We want all candidates for Mayor to commit to upgrading the City Hall website to let Londoners check if their landlord has the right licence and help them take action.”