Tag Archives: tower hamlets council

TH Renters to send council list of letting agents not displaying fees as law requires

agent protest wideshot

Clarke & Lloyds, off Brick Lane, doesn’t display its fees

TH Renters is to send TH Council a list of 35 letting agents not displaying their fees online, as the law requires, after completing a research programme with Generation Rent.

The agents will be subject to a £5,000 fine if the council pursues them. From May last year agents are obliged to clearly display their fees both online and in their offices so potential tenants know in advance what they can expect to pay.

Previously agents that hid charges could only be named and shamed by the Advertisement Standards Authority. The Government said the new law will “require letting agents to publish a full tariff of their fees both on their websites and prominently in their offices. Anyone who does not comply with these new rules will face a fine.”

35 agents storyHowever, ten months later many are still not doing so either through ignorance or maybe they have something to hide. Our research found agents charging fees of up to £900 for two people to rent a property and up to £762 for someone renting alone. It’s possible some of the 35, which failed to publish their fees, are charging even more.

On Saturday, 20th Feb, TH Renters paid a visit to some of the guilty agents to hand them a mock fine before protesting outside and handing out leaflets to passers-by.

We hope renters will demand to see agents’ fees up front and inform us or the council where they’re not.

£5000 fine certificate

TH Renters kindly warned a few TH letting agents about the law before shopping them to the council on Monday

 

 

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TH Council commits to Feb 2016 Licensing decision

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TH Council said last night it would decide on whether to implement a landlord licensing scheme in February 2016, however it’s still not clear what scheme they plan to adopt and how effective it will be.

TH Renters has been calling for the introduction of licensing, which provides councils with the resources to inspect properties and prosecute landlords in breach of basic conditions, for years.

Newham has been successfully operating licensing since 2013 and prosecutes more landlords than the rest of London put together.

To be licensed landlords must also pass a fit-and-proper person test meaning those found guilty of housing law violations, fraud or sexual, violent or organised crimes would be banned from acting as a landlord and would have to transfer the management of their property to a reputable agent.

However, the concern is TH Council only plan to introduce Selective licensing, which can only be applied to 20% of a borough (after the coalition government changed the law in April) – unless the case can be proved to the secretary of state to make it borough-wide.

So TH Renters would like the Council to introduce Additional licensing, which has no restrictions and so can be borough-wide, alongside Selective – as they did in Newham.

Additional licensing requires every property let to mixed households (ie where everyone in the property is not related, also know as ‘houses of multiple occupation’ or HMO) must be licensed.

The net result being that a far higher percentage of private landlords would be licensed than would be if only Selective was introduced to 20% of the borough.

The Feb 2016 announcement was made after TH Renter Michael James asked a question to new cabinet member for housing Sirajul Islam at Wednesday’s full council meeting.

Open day & protest against last TUSH co-op family’s eviction: Weds, TH Town Hall, 6-7pm

John, Angelus and Mike hope the council doesn't split the family up

John, Angelus and Mike hope the council doesn’t split the family up and force Angelus into an old people’s institution

Please join TUSH housing co-op this Wednesday evening to protest against TH Council’s decision to evict them from their Bow home of 17-years.

The council has decided it wants to kick out the three friends – Angelus, John and Mike – and spend £150,000 doing it up before renting it out – and risk losing it to right-to-buy or selling it on.

Octogenarian Angelus has lived in the Bruce Road co-op for 30-years and relies on his friends for support and friendship. The council say he should be in sheltered housing. Angelus says it will be like being sent to prison to wait to die.BAMBI dog pic

John, who grew up in the area, has lived at the property for 17-years with his dogs and apart from being split up from his friends will be forced to give up his beloved dog Bambi as both private accommodation and housing associations won’t accept pets.

POLOMike, who has also lived in Bruce Road for many years with his pet dog Polo, has already been forced out of one former TUSH property when the council tricked him into moving out to do some work under the belief he could move back. The council deemed the best use of the property – along with a number others – would be to let it sit empty for nearly five years rather than let people move back in.

The council proposes they all move into one bedroom homes, which is odd given the shortage of housing and the inefficient use of stock that would be. Meanwhile the council is proposing wasting £150,000 on doing the property up despite its shortage of cash and John having spent years renovating and maintaining the property, which the friends are all happy to live in as it is.

The TUSH house sharing co-op was set up 35-years ago when the council had neither the money or the will to renovate seven derelict properties. The original members began renovating and maintaining them and lived there and getting involved in community work and campaigns. The council eventually gave them licenses to live there.

The arrangement meant the council had no costs in looking after the properties for decades. We only have to look at Robin Hood Gardens and Balfron Tower to see how good the council is at taking care of its stock.

It now seems the council wants to cash in on other people’s hard work by either selling them on or possibly letting them out to families. But they are a family in the most important sense of the word: taking care and looking out for each other. It seems the council is too willing to dismiss older single people as being somehow undeserving.

So please join them this Wednesday outside the Town Hall before the monthly full council meeting where their petition will be presented to the chamber and discussed.

6-7pm, Weds, 22nd July, Tower Hamlets Town Hall, Mulberry Place, E14 2BG

How to get there: East India DLR or buses: 15, 108, 277, D6, D7, D8

Visit the last TUSH co-op home on Bruce Road

Angelus, Mike and John will be opening up their door during the day on Wednesday for supporters to come and see their co-op home for themselves and find out more about the history of the co-op and why their way of living is a benefit and not a burden.

Their welcoming people between 12 and 5pm. Enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of juice and let John give you a tour of the garden where he grows food and is nurturing wildlife.

 

Tower Hamlets parliamentary candidates & their housing policy

Last week Tower Hamlets Federation of Tenant and Resident Associations held a hustings dedicated to one of the most pressing issues in the borough: housing.

Candidates from Labour (Rushanara Ali), Conservative (Matt Smith), Lib Dems (Teena Lashmore), Greens (Alistair Polson) and TUSC (Glyn Robbins) all graced the stage to answer questions from a passionate and informed audience.

Frankly their personal views matter little given the area is a Labour safe seat and policy is formed not by our local MPs, but by the upper echelons of the party, their advisers and of course those able to get close enough to lobby them.

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Traders at Chrisp Street market left in dark over development plans

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Tower Hamlets Renters and Action East End held a stall at Chrisp St Market to find out what residents and traders thought about the proposed £300m regeneration scheme.

Traders at Chrisp Street market have criticised landlord Poplar Harca over the lack of information being offered about a £300m regeneration programme that will force them out for at least three years with no guarantee they can return.

Poplar Harca plans to redevelop the old market square and surrounding estates between 2017 and 2020, and replace them with a modern shopping precinct with cinema, restaurants, leisure and cultural facilities, and 750 new homes.

On top of the lack of information, the scheme has been repeatedly delayed since 2012 leaving tenants and traders living in uncertainty and unable to plan for the future.

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Next Private Renters Meeting this Tuesday, 26 Aug, at Unite Community Centre, Shadwell

Entrance for the Unite Community Centre is through the gate to the right of the main entrance and down the stairs

Entrance for the Unite Community Centre is through the gate to the right of the main entrance and down the stairs

Please join us for our next THPR meeting whether you want to learn more about what we do, share a landlord problem or get involved with one of our ongoing campaigns. The meeting will be held on the lower ground floor of 236 Cable Street between 6.30 & 8pm.

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Housing demo at Tower Hamlets Town Hall, Weds 30 July, to call for Better Conditions Without Evictions – Please join us

SUPPORT MICHAEL & TOWER HAMLETS RENTERS AS THEY LOBBY COUNCIL OVER POOR HOUSING CONDITIONS & RETALIATORY EVICTIONS

6-7pm, Wednesday, 30th July, outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall Continue reading