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Rogue landlords operating in East End must be dealt with, charity warns

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 September 2011

PRS Campaign/Bad Housing Manchester, Ashton under Lyne, Greater Manchester, 16/08/2010

PRS Campaign/Bad Housing Manchester, Ashton under Lyne, Greater Manchester, 16/08/2010

Copyright: Max Hamilton for Shelter Use only

More must be done to deal with landlords who leave homes in disrepair, a charity warned as it emerged Tower Hamlets is among the top third worst boroughs for complaints about privately rented homes.

More than 1,500 complaints were made to Tower Hamlets Council in the past three years, figures released this week by housing charity Shelter show.

The charity has accused local authorities of having adequate powers to tackle rogue landlords but said “too many aren’t making the most of their armoury”.

Campbell Robb, chief executive, said: “Every day we see the devastating impact rogue landlords have on peoples’ lives as they remain trapped in homes that cause misery and, in some cases, put lives at risk.”

Councils have the power to inspect properties, assess hazards and order landlords to make repairs under the Housing Act of 2004.

In the last decade Tower Hamlets Council has successfully prosecuted at least 10 landlords.

One case led to £14,000 of Housing Benefit paid direct to a landlord being recovered.

Across London the number of complaints against landlords in the last year has shot up, but just 36 have been successfully prosecuted against in the courts.

Tower Hamlets Council insisted it would take action against landlords who do not comply with warnings.

Housing officers are also cracking down on “super sheds” – poorly constructed illegal buildings often housing far too many tenants - and are working with other agencies to root them out.

A council spokeswoman said: “We respond to complaints by writing to landlords or agents and investigating unresolved high priority cases. We also are carrying out pro-active surveys of certain streets we believe are problematical.”

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