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Most London councils are failing to tackle rogue landlords


Government funding cuts to local councils have resulted in a threadbare patchwork of enforcement against London's rogue landlords, according to data obtained by Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon.

Based on freedom of information requests that were submitted to all 32 London Boroughs information has been obtained showing the record of action against rogue landlords being taken across London. All London Boroughs responded to the requests for information, although some were unable to reply fully to the requests.

Notably:

  • A quarter of councils in London (8 boroughs) failed to prosecute a single landlord for providing unsafe accommodation in 2015/2016.
  • A further half of London councils (16) prosecuted fewer than 10 landlords for providing unsafe accommodation in 2015/2016.
  • One council alone (Newham) was responsible for 70 per cent of prosecutions under the Housing Act (2004) in London.
  • There is significant variation in the level of enforcement activity by London boroughs, ranging from 1 in 10 private rented properties for hazards, and others only inspecting one in five hundred or even six hundred properties.

Commenting on the results of this extensive London-wide survey, Caroline Pidgeon said:

"Earlier this year the housing charity Shelter revealed that one in twenty renters believe they have recently rented from a rogue landlord and 60 per cent of renters had experienced either damp, mould, leaking roofs or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestation or gas leaks.

"Most landlords are of course responsible people, but sadly an element are not. Firm action must be taken to tackle them. Basic standards must be upheld for the two million people in London who now live in private rented accommodation.

"Against a background of severe budget cuts councils are clearly struggling to find the resources to tackle these issues. My survey demonstrates that where mandatory licensing has been introduced, the resources this provides has resulted in a step-change in enforcement activity.

"With the private rented sector growing rapidly in London, it is time to introduce a proper and robust framework of regulation across the entire city. The data clearly demonstrates that only a rigorous regime of licensing will result in the enforcement needed to put an end to the problem of rogue landlords across every part of London.

"I hope Sadiq Khan will take this issue seriously. We also need changes in national policy, as the government is foolishly blocking further licensing schemes from being introduced in London."

Read Caroline's full report here.


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