Rogue landlord fined by Tower Hamlets Council as tougher regulations are extended to protect renters

PUBLISHED: 14:00 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:55 01 April 2019

Landlord registration scheme protecting tenants now covers all Tower Hamlets after town hall picket in 2015 which led to Renters' Charter. Picture: Mike Brooke

Landlord registration scheme protecting tenants now covers all Tower Hamlets after town hall picket in 2015 which led to Renters' Charter. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Yet another ‘rogue’ landlord has been fined by Tower Hamlets Council ahead of tough licensing regulations which have been extended across the whole East End from today.

Mayor John Biggs... Mayor John Biggs... "We'll enforce against landlords who fail to register their properties." Picture: Mike Brooke

Mohammed Ahmed failed to license his Bethnal Green property, a flat in Benson House in Ligonia Street, which he rents out for multiple occupation.

He has been hit with a £4,000 fine plus £5,000 legal costs at Thames Magistrates’ court for failing to register.

Ahmed, from Mildmay Road in Ilford, had been required to register his property by regulations piloted two years ago.

Landlords have to sign up to the register for properties with three or four occupants living as two or more households which have shared facilities, to make sure they are managed safely and also with legal responsibility for tenant behaviour.

“We will enforce against landlords who fail to register their properties,” Mayor John Biggs warned. “They face serious penalties for failing to register. This prosecution shows we are taking action to protect tenants.”

Deputy mayor Sirajul Islam... Deputy mayor Sirajul Islam... "The scheme has real teeth to protect tenants' health and safety." Picture: Mike Brooke

The regulations covering the whole East End from today now cover 9,000 homes in addition to a ‘pilot’ scheme that’s been running for two years in Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, and Spitalfields and in addition to current regulations on other multiple-occupied properties..

Deputy mayor Sirajul Islam, responsible for all housing issues, said: “We insist that landlords are licensed to protect both them and their tenants. Housing is such a premium that overcrowded flats used by several tenants are common. The scheme has real teeth to protect tenants’ health and safety.”

Tenants can now apply for rebates for up to 12 months in unregistered properties. The council can also recover rent paid through housing benefit.

Landlords failing to apply after today for a five-year licence, costing £520, could face unlimited fines as well as having to refund their tenants.

Tenants won their fight in 2016 for a renters’ charter after lobbying the town hall in a two-year campaign against unlawful evictions on a landlord’s whim for merely complaining about lack of repairs or maintenance, and against unscrupulous hidden “key money” registration fees.

Fines, legal costs and compensation so far have reached a total of £467,000 in just 36 months. One lettings agency in Poplar was fined a record £54,000 by Thames magistrates in September for an overcrowded flat on the Boundary Estate in Shoreditch that had no heating and inadequate fire precautions.

The town hall has been carrying out checks on the 401 landlords and letting agents listed on its database after becoming one of the first local authorities to sign up to the Mayor of London’s ‘Rogue Landlord’ checker in 2017.

Some landlords were also found not to be complying with legislation that websites must state if there are any fees on top of renting a property.

Other information that must be accessible includes whether renters’ deposits are protected by a ‘tenancy deposit’ scheme to make sure they don’t lose deposits or have unexpected fees imposed.

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