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Tower Hamlets council has collected a total of £150,000 from rogue landlords and letting agents charging hidden fees.
Tower Hamlets council has 401 landlords on its database and is investigating the sector, looking into complaints from private tenants. Some of the landlords in question were failing to comply with legislation that requires websites to clearly state if there are any fees levied on top of renting a property.
Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs spoke out about the issue: ‘It’s disappointing that a small number are acting dishonestly and misleading people looking for a home. We are making sure people are not exploited by rogue landlords or letting agents and won’t tolerate those trying to mislead people.’
Landlords must also make accessible information such as whether an agent is registered with a Client Money Protection Scheme and if a renter’s deposit will be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This ensures the safety of a tenants’ deposit and also ensures that there are not unexpected fees imposed.
Tower Hamlets council was one the first local authorities to sign up to the Mayor of London’s ‘rogue landlord’ checker last month. The council has fined 27 letting and managing agents for failing to comply with the law thus far, issuing fines ranging between £1,000 and £10,000. It will soon be conducting further checks to make sure those who have been fined make immediate adjustments to meet legislation and ensure their properties are appropriate to let.
The council’s own Renters’ Charter which began last summer is being used as a template for City Hall’s Checklist. A licensing pilot scheme was initiated in 2017 in Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Shoreditch. This followed a two-year renters’ campaign which began lobbying the town hall in a bid to stop unlawful evictions and large registration fees from letting agents.