London council unveils plan to become first to license all private landlords PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 14:34

Newham Council has launched a consultation on the introduction of a licensing scheme for all private landlords in the borough.

The proposed scheme is thought to be the first of its kind in the country. If it gets the green light, it is expected to be in place by July 2012.

The scheme would apply to an estimated 35,000 tenancies – or one in three of all the borough’s households.

The council had previously piloted selective licensing in the Little Ilford Neighbourhood Improvement Zone.

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: "This proposed scheme shows that Newham is leading the country when it comes to tackling bad landlords who flout the law. We want to ensure that private sector rented properties are well managed and meet a good standard. We also want to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour that is sometimes associated with bad private sector rented housing.

“There are good landlords in Newham and we want to work with them. Unfortunately there are also some unscrupulous ones – which these proposals would target.”

Sir Robin added: “We will never accept private sector tenants being directly exploited by landlords who force them to live in dangerous and unacceptable conditions. Good landlords have nothing to fear from this scheme. For the bad ones, this a clear message they must clean up their act."

Newham also recently announced plans to create a task force to combat so-called ‘super-sheds’ – illegal buildings at the bottom of gardens.

The council said it would be using infra-red cameras and aerial photography to identify such homes, which it suggested were “shanty-style” and often housed tenants living in “appalling squalor”.

The consultation on the licensing scheme will run until 4 December.

Housing charity Shelter backed Newham’s plans and called on other local authorities to follow suit.

Kay Boycott, director of communications, policy and campaigns at Shelter, said: “We are delighted to hear that Newham Council could be introducing this scheme, which would help protect vulnerable tenants from rogue landlords who are making their tenants’ lives hell.”

She added that renting was fast becoming the only option for thousands more Londoners, thanks to a combination of the shortage of social housing and people being priced out of the market.

Boycott added: “We urge other local councils to follow Newham’s lead in sending a clear signal that enforcing the law against rogue landlords is a priority.”

 

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