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Brent Council has agreed to support renters’ unions to help ensure that buy to let privately rented properties are maintained to what they feel is an appropriate standard.
In addition to supporting renters’ unions, the council also agreed to support the abolition of the section 21 ‘no fault eviction’ policy.
The move could be a blow to private buy to let landlords in the borough, and landlords everywhere if the abolition of section 21 were to be enacted, as it is often the only way that landlords can regain possession of their properties.
Cllr Michael Maurice said: ‘I think it’s disgraceful that rogue landlords are able to operate and exploit vulnerable people. This has been going on for ages and we seem to still be getting it today.
‘It’s not right for people on low incomes – they deserve to live somewhere nice, they need to have their rights and they need to have security.’
However, Cllr Maurice insisted that the council was not against all private landlords, saying: ‘Around five per cent of landlords spoil it for everyone else, because there are lots of good landlords out there.
‘These sharks give everyone a bad name and I do hope that they are caught, and the courts fine them huge amounts of money to stop them operating in this way.’
In supporting the motion to support renters’ unions several councillors gave accounts of mistreatment towards tenants in their wards, including Cllr Fleur Donnelly-Jackson, who brought the motion.
She claimed that due to a faulty boiler in a Brent property, she had been forced to boil pots of water and several kettles in order to wash.
Some councillors also called for selectively licensing to be extended across the whole of Brent, a suggestion backed by the lead member for housing Cllr Ellie Southwood.
Cllr Southwood explained that apart from supporting renters’ unions, the motion as a whole ‘encapsulated lots of the issues’ affecting the borough and said the private rental sector remains a priority for her department.
She said: ‘We want to see selective licensing borough wide, and we will continue to use our investigative powers to hand out improvement notices.
‘I wholeheartedly support this motion and will write to MPs to encourage them to speak up about it in parliament.’