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Hackney Council have finally introduced their extended landlord licensing scheme following a delay from a landlord legal challenge.
The New extended licensing scheme was announced by Hackney Council last year, but a legal challenge from a landlord held up the rollout.
The scheme, along with additional licensing requirements for landlords of all houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in the Hackney Council area, which includes the Tower of London, was eventually approved at the last cabinet meeting and enforcement has now begun.
Owners of the 4,000 plus private-rented homes in Brownswood, Cazenove and Stoke Newington wards now have to apply for licences. They were chosen because one-in-five renters in those areas suffering from cold homes, disrepair, damp and mould.
Landlords are being charged £500 for a five-year licence, or £425 for those that are accredited. The cash will pay for additional enforcement officers, with the licensing team doubling in size.
Those who don’t get licensed or fail to comply with the conditions will face fixed penalties of up to £30,000, a prosecution with unlimited fine, or be forced to pay tenants back up to a year’s rent. Serious offenders can be banned from letting homes completely and placed on a rogue landlord database.
Cllr Sem Moema, mayoral adviser for private renting at hackney Council, said: ‘For too long rogue landlords have been able to get away with exploiting a lack of regulation to profit from letting out homes in unacceptable condition.
‘Our measures are addressing this imbalance, giving protection to thousands of renters who, by paying exorbitant rents just for somewhere to live, are already on the frontline of Hackney’s housing crisis.
‘Landlords have long known these changes are coming and – with plans to inspect every single property affected – those breaking the law can have no excuses when we issue tough penalties.’
Landlords complained last year that they had been given no information about the upcoming scheme, and they were eventually given until the end of February to apply for licences.
The measures are part of Hackney Council’s #BetterRenting campaign to create a better deal for private renters.