Tower Hamlets Council is holding a series of public meetings (see below) on introducing a landlord licensing scheme for residents to learn how it will work and benefit them.
Officially the scheme is to force landlords to take more responsibility for their properties and the tenants that live in them – in particular to tackle anti-social behaviour: noisy neighbours, rubbish being left out on the street, drug dealing or properties being allowed to fall into a state of disrepair.
In reality the scheme can also be used to pressure and force landlords to take better care of their properties and meet minimum legal standards to the benefit of their tenants. Any landlord who is found to break the conditions of the license – including not having one – faces a fine of up to £20,000, a potential ban from operating in the borough, and is prevented from evicting their tenants.
Despite its benefits, there have been some concerns surrounding the schemes. Newham Council carried out a number of raids on properties with the UKBA, who were looking for undocumented migrants, when it first set up the scheme in 2013. It turned out this was following a high profile documentary on ‘beds in sheds’ – recent migrants being taken advantage of and paying to live in atrocious conditions. A TH Council officer has stated they have no intention of working with UKBA in this way.
But attending one of the public meetings is a good opportunity for residents to ask the council questions as to how the scheme will work and about any concerns they may have.
TH Renters supports the implementation of the scheme and encourage you to fill in the online form that will be used to justify rolling it out across the borough after the current government changed the law last month.
Landlords limiting licensing
After lobbying by the National Landlords Association, the coalition government limited licensing to 20% of a council’s jurisdiction. Permission is now needed from Eric Pickles to license the whole borough, so a strong mandate from residents would likely be needed.
This crazy situation means only 20% of private renters would have the protection of the scheme, while the cost of setting up it up would be spread over fewer landlords. There would be also less money for the council to carry out inspections and prosecute dodgy landlords.
Following a High Court ruling, landlords managed to get a licensing scheme in Enfield completely blocked.
So, please fill in the form or attend one of the meetings if you feel you need to ask more questions.
- Weavers – PDC Bethnal Green – Thurs, 30th April
- Bow East – Idea Store Bow – Tues, 5th May
- Spitalfields – Idea Store Whitechapel – Tues, 12th May
- Millwall – Rowing Club – Mon, 18th May
- Blackwall & Cubitt Town – Mulberry Place – Mon, 1st June