Renters' Charter gets five year extension

Renters' Charter began in 2016 after a 12-month protest campaign by tenants who often faced eviction on a landlord's whim

Renters' Charter began in 2016 after a 12-month protest campaign by tenants. - Credit: Mike Brooke

A charter which protects renters against East End rogue landlords will be in place for another five years.

The landlord licensing register set up in 2016 covering Whitechapel, Spitalfields and parts of Bethnal Green is being extended to 2026 by Tower Hamlets Council.

The decision was approved by the mayor and his cabinet this week after public consultations.

The scheme covers all private renting in areas with high volumes of tenant properties, mainly along the City Fringe.

Mayor John Biggs... plans to lobby Downing Street to extend landlord licensing  over whole East End.

Mayor John Biggs plans to lobby Downing Street to extend landlord licensing over the whole borough. - Credit: Mike Brooke

“We are using our powers to protect renters,” mayor John Biggs said. “But we want the government to let us do even more so we can extend the scheme to stick up for the rights of renters across the whole borough. We’ll keep lobbying the government on this.” 

The current licensing scheme running since October 2016 puts a legal duty on landlords and managing agents to register their properties.  

The town hall now wants to run it more widely to include areas like Shadwell, Limehouse, Poplar, Bow and the Isle of Dogs in order to tip the balance towards tenants.

The Renters' Charter also protects tenants from eviction if the landlord has not applied for a licence, while current licences need to be renewed when they expire. 

Most Read

Cllr Eve McQuillan said: “We’re clear that we’re on the side of tenants and want to see reforms in private renting to reset the balance between landlords and renters.

"Too many landlords still fail in their obligations to tenants. Landlord licensing has been a game changer.” 

Town hall protest in 2015 led to landlord licensing a year later that's now being extended 5 years

A town hall protest in 2015 before landlord licensing was introduced in parts of Tower Hamlets a year later. - Credit: Mike Brooke/stockshot

The scheme especially targets rogue landlords who inflict evictions on a whim if tenants complain about poor or dangerous housing conditions.

It also puts pressure on landlords to make improvements to living standards. 

The council is promising tougher measures like fining landlords who fail to license their properties and to enforce "effective management"  to stop anti-social activity and take action if they fail to maintain properties to a good standard.

The authority has recovered £320,000 so far in rent repayment orders for tenants where landlords have failed to license their properties.