Latest Public Sector News

27.04.17

Khan to launch first of its kind criminal landlord database in London

An online database to ‘name and shame’ criminal landlords will soon be established in the capital by mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

The measures have been put in place to crack down on the number of landlords renting sub-standard properties to tenants, with many people paying huge rents to live in squalid, cramped conditions.

The system, being created in partnership with London boroughs, will be published on the mayor’s website and will put information about private landlords and letting agencies who have been prosecuted for housing offences.

Councils in London will be able to collaborate and share information about known rogue landlords, but Londoners will also be able to access the database and report suspect landlords when it is launched officially in the autumn.

Over the next few months the database will be developed using information from six councils, Newham, Brent, Camden, Southwark, Kingston and Sutton. Other London councils will be added at the official launch later on in the year.

The news comes the same week that housing officers in Harrow council, in North West London, found 17 people living in a three-person house. Officials added that the actual number of residents in the property could’ve been as high as 40 before the council raided the property.

Khan said: “I refuse to stand by as thousands of Londoners suffer sky-high rents and horrendous living conditions in a city they call home.  

“I want to be clear that the vast majority of landlords treat renters well – but a minority are exploiting their tenants and it’s simply unacceptable. This must stop now.”

The mayor announced the database at a property raid in Newham, where the implementation of borough-wide licensing since 2013 has been successful in prosecuting 1,100 criminal landlords in the area, including banning 28 from renting property in the future.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales said he was proud of the council’s success rate in getting rid of reckless landlords, as the area was responsible for 70% of London’s prosecutions for criminal renters. 

“We have shown that with political will, local knowledge, and robust enforcement we can safeguard residents and drive criminal landlords out of business,” Sir Robin said.

“The mayor of London’s new database, alongside our licensing scheme, will play a key role in helping to improve the sector,” he added. “We look forward to working with him, and other London boroughs to make the capital a no-go area for criminal landlords.”

Richard Lambert, chief executive officer at the National Landlords Association, also stated that the mayor’s ‘name and shame’ online database brings information on criminal landlords and agents together to make it much easier for renters to find and avoid landlords anyone who has been prosecuted for housing related crimes.

“Importantly, it is also the first-time renters have had a central online tool that should take some of the stress out of reporting potentially criminal housing conditions to their local authority,” he said.

This month, the government also announced a number of other policies to help councils crack down on dodgy landlords.

At the start of April, the DCLG announced that councils will be able to fine renters up to £30,000 if they were found guilty of not keeping their property in a fit state for tenants. Alongside this, the government also made unnecessary letting fees imposed by agencies illegal.

However, this was a measure that did not go far enough according to councils, as the LGA stated that the government should bring in prison sentences for the worst landlords rather than just fines.

Top Image: Dominic Lipinski PA Wire

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