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Charter to protect private renters in Tower Hamlets to be launched

PUBLISHED: 16:49 11 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:49 11 July 2017

Campaigning renters finally get their charter after lobbying Tower Hamlets Council since 2014. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Campaigning renters finally get their charter after lobbying Tower Hamlets Council since 2014. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Mike Brooke

A town hall charter protecting private renting tenants in Tower Hamlets against rogue landlords and illegal evictions is being set up after a three-year campaign.

Renters' campaign co-ordinator Glenn McMahon lobbies Tower Hamlets Council. Picture: MIKE BROOKERenters' campaign co-ordinator Glenn McMahon lobbies Tower Hamlets Council. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

The Tower Hamlets Private Renters’ Charter is being launched on July 29 to give tenants “the right to live in a safe and secure home and be treated fairly”.

It follows a pilot landlord licensing scheme in Spitalfields and Whitechapel started by Tower Hamlets Council in October.

“This new charter is for private renters to know their rights and know what standards to expect,” Mayor John Biggs said this week.

“This is a big issue for growing numbers of people relying on private renting for their home.”

The charter protects against discrimination, demands fair tenancy terms without “hidden surprises” and for letting fees to be displayed in agency offices and online. It also demands no rent rise during fixed tenancy period, annual gas safety checks, a home free from damp and mould, working smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector.

It is supported by the Residential Landlords Association whose policy manager John Stewart said: “The charter can deny space for crooks to operate who give the whole rented sector a bad name.”

The Property Ombudsman Service is also endorsing the charter which it believes will help “take out rogue landlords” when backed up with enforcement action.

The landlord licensing scheme which came into force in October followed renters lobbying the town hall who protested against exorbitant letting agents fees to move into properties.

Campaign coordinator Glenn McMahon said at the time: “Forking out exorbitant fees to agents forces many people to borrow or cut back on basics like food just to put a roof over their head.”

Renters up till now have lacked protection that most council and housing association tenants have, often facing eviction on a landlord’s whim for complaining about lack of repairs or maintenance.

The East End’s private renting has reached 46,000, or 40 per cent of all housing, now overtaken the 36pc council and social housing, with the population influx estimated to rise by 74,000 in the next decade.


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