East End rogue landlords are stung for £100,000 for renting out unsafe properties

PUBLISHED: 13:10 29 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:21 29 June 2020

Tenants lobby Tower Hamlets Council in 2015  to set up East End's own Renters' Charter. Picture: Mike Brooke

Tenants lobby Tower Hamlets Council in 2015 to set up East End's own Renters' Charter. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Rogue landlords have had to cough up £100,000 in the past 12 months for renting out unsafe or bad properties illegally in the East End, it has emerged.

Mayor John Biggs... Mayor John Biggs... "We're clamping down on unlicensed properties." Picture: Mike Brooke

Tenants have managed to get compensation for excessive rents or having to pay unscrupulous registration fees on unlicensed premises which have been recovered by Tower Hamlets Council using repayment orders, the town hall revealed this week.

The authority is using court orders that allow renters to get back up to 12 months’ payment from landlords who fail to register properties as required by law.

“We are clamping down on unlicensed properties,” mayor John Biggs warned. “This hits those who flout the regulations where it hurts most – in the pocket.

“Our licensing schemes protect tenants and also help legitimate landlords raise housing standards.”

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Property owners caught letting unlicensed premises can face prosecution, a criminal conviction and unlimited fines. Rogue landlords are also limited in their ability to take legal eviction proceedings against tenants.

Deputy Mayor Sirajul Islam, the cabinet member for housing, said: “There are always landlords who put profit ahead of the people living in their properties.

“But penalties that can be incurred by falling foul of our regulations isn’t worth the risk of renting out an unlicensed property.

“We want to work with property owners instead, to make sure that licensed premises are safe to rent out.”

The council operates a legally-required mandatory licensing scheme for multiple occupation properties which have five tenants or more, as well as an additional licensing scheme for flats or houses with three or more renters.

It also operates selective licensing for all rented properties in the City Fringe neighbourhoods around Whitechapel, Spitalfields and the western half of Bethnal Green.

The schemes aim to make sure that rented accommodation has enough space and facilities for those occupying them, that landlords are “fit and proper” to rent out or employ agents who are qualified, that anti-social behaviour is dealt with and that there are facilities to report and carry out any repairs.

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