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Council boasts of court cases and fines against letting agents

One of the local authorities with the tightest clampdowns on letting agents has issued a statement celebrating its successes.

Tower Hamlets council in east London says it has brought 57 successful prosecutions against rogue landlords and letting agents in the past three years.

Courts issued fines totalling over £361,662, of which £115,461 were handed to landlords and £225,500 to letting agents. 


Thirteen landlords were given a criminal caution and 12 received civil penalties totalling £76,661.

Crimes included renting out unlicensed properties, failing to carry out required improvements and charging hidden fees.

The largest single fine was £167,000, given to Sterling De Vere agency for giving false information to clients. It was also successfully prosecuted for two other offences under the Housing Act 2004 and fined £16,200.

The council also helped tenants claim back more than £360,000 from rogue landlords in 2020-21. 

The money was recovered using rent repayment orders that allow the council and tenants to get back up to 12 months’ rent from landlords who fail to license properties when they are required to do so.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, says: “With one third of properties in Tower Hamlets on the private market we’re taking steps to protect renters’ rights. We are using our enforcement powers to clamp down on landlords who are putting profits above their tenants.”

The council operates the Mandatory Licensing Scheme (for properties with five renters or more), the Additional Licensing Scheme (three or more renters) and the Selective Licensing Scheme.

  • Roger  Mellie

    Good work from Tower Hamlets. I helped a tenant that had rented through Sterling De Vere, they didn't register his deposit, it went to court and he won 3 times the deposit plus his deposit back. That was years back too.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    There's nothing wrong with Councils enforcing the regulations and protecting Landlords and Tenants alike. However, Tower Hamlets need to take a good hard look at how they conduct themselves as Freeholders. We reported a roof leak to them on 25th September 2019 (not a typo) and we are still chasing to resolve this. They didn't act swiftly, so the issue escalated making the property become uninhabitable- we temporarily rehoused the tenants and then had to release them. The insurance has been covering loss of rents and refit which is now to the tune of tens of thousands- making their premium soars- wasting their own funds and making premiums soar for private leaseholders with no recourse. We have sent literally hundreds of emails and make hundreds of phone calls- we would go weeks or months with nothing happening until we named and shamed them on Social Media and suddenly something would happen. Simply attrocious!

  • icon

    The problem is some of these london councils are nothing but gangsters the know they will never be held to account for their crimes
    Give us the same unlimited powers and you can be sure we could find enough faults and dangerous conditions in their properties to fine them tens of millions


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