The house has put the initiative in the rental market firmly in the hands of landlords, and while many act responsibly, there are enough exceptions to create a problem. A recent survey revealed that 60% of London’s private renters suffer from leaks, inadequate heating or infestations, with little choice but to put up with it.
However, London is now set to take a leaf out of New York’s book and start naming and shaming the rogue landlords.
Since 2014, New York City has listed online the landlords who violate tenancy laws. This has included landlords harassing tenants out in an effort to gentrify the neighbourhood, but more general shortcomings are also highlighted.
Measures have been gradually introduced in the UK to give local authorities more teeth in dealing with rogue landlords. In 2013, Newham was given borough-wide powers to licence privately rented properties. Since then, Newham has prosecuted over a thousand landlords for criminal activity and banned twenty-eight. In April, extra powers were rolled out nationwide, with local authorities empowered to issue fines up to £30,000.
The Mayor’s List
The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, recently announced the launch on City Hall’s website of a Home for Londoners property portal. This includes details of affordable home, either to buy or rent, and one element is a New York-style list of landlords convicted of illegal practices.
This will initially operate in Newham, Brent, Camden, Southwark, Kingston and Sutton, but will be expanded in the autumn. “I’ve seen at first hand,” said the Mayor, “the abysmal conditions that some of London’s private renters are forced to endure as a result of rogue landlords.”
The Consequences for Landlords
So what does this mean for you, if you rent out residential property in London?
So long as you’re a conscientious landlord who ensures all legal requirements are met, it shouldn’t do you any harm and could actually be of benefit. Prospective tenants will be able to scan the list before committing themselves to rent, and if your name isn’t on it that can only be an encouragement.
The downside, of course, is one more reason why you need to put extra work and attention into ensuring nothing goes wrong. Since, though, the requirement for inclusion on the list is conviction, bringing with it a large fine, that incentive should already be there.
Feel free to get in touch with me if you want a chat about how this might affect you.