Council steps up action on unlicensed HMO’s

Published: 6 November 2018

Enforcement teams will be carrying out early morning raids on unlicensed HMO’s as the council steps up its tough action on unscrupulous landlords.

The crackdown will be funded by new fees for landlord licenses, which are rising to bring Redbridge into line with neighbouring boroughs.

The council is not permitted to make a profit from licence fees, which must be cost neutral.  The size of the fee is determined by the costs of setup, running and enforcement of the scheme.

The new definition for mandatory licensing for HMO’s came into force on 1 October.  On the same date, the council’s selective licensing scheme was extended to cover 14 wards and 79 per cent of the private rented sector following official approval.

A major Cabinet report published today (6 November) warns there could be as many as 700 unlicensed houses in multiple occupation following tip-offs from local people concerned about tenants at risk and anti-social behaviour.

Enforcement teams will carry out checks on all suspected HMOs as part of proactive plans to tackle rogue operators and improve standards in the private rented sector.

Landlords who have not applied for a licence risk prosecution or a financial penalty of up to £30,000 if they fail to act.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness Cllr Farah Hussain said: "Everyone in our borough deserves a safe and secure place to call their home. There are some good HMOs in Redbridge but too many are poorly maintained, causing misery for tenants and leading to dirty streets and nuisance to neighbours. We won’t stand for landlords that put tenants at risk and wash their hands of anti-social behaviour. Our teams will be knocking on the doors of all suspected HMO’s to make sure residents are living safely in private rented accommodation. Landlords who are breaking the law should be aware we will take the strongest possible action against them.”

As part of its enforcement activity, the council will be reviewing all letting agents to ensure mandatory registration with an official redress scheme, so that tenants and landlords can get independent adjudication of disputes.

Information on the redress scheme and how to register can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lettings-agents-and-property-managers-redress-schemes

Property owners or agents can apply for a licence here: https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/housing/private-rentals/apply-for-a-property-licence/

Check rogue landlords online

The council has signed up to the Mayor of London’s Rogue Landlords and Letting Agents Checker, a free online tool which allows Londoners to check if a landlord or letting agent has been convicted of any housing offences.  You can access the checker here https://www.london.gov.uk/rogue-landlord-checker

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