July 29 2014 Latest news:
by Laura Burnip
Monday, June 23, 2014
Dodgy landlords have been warned they will face prosecution by Redbridge Council if they fail to provide a safe environment for tenants.
Cllr Muhammed Javed, who is the executive member for housing at Redbridge Council, said the authority was working hard to improve standards of accommodation for everyone.
His comments came following calls from the Local Government Association last week for tougher fines to tackle rogue landlords after the owner of a mouse and cockroach-infested house in Redbridge was fined just £3,000.
The LGA – which represents almost 400 councils in England and Wales – said while most landlords are reputable, a criminal minority viewed fines as operating costs to be offset against profits.
And it said the current system for prosecuting dodgy landlords was “not fit for the 21st century” and called for a streamlined system.
Cllr Javed said: “What we as a local authority can do, and should do, is have a policy to ensure people live in secure accomodation.
“There are many good landlords, but some who are not.
“They should be aware the council will take action, as we have done.”
The Labour councillor said the authority was currently looking at bringing in a landlord registration scheme.
“That will happen in the near future,” he added.
After publishing its report into prosecuting private landlords for poor property conditions on Friday, the LGA said while councils were doing everything they could to tackle landlords, they were being hampered by the system.
The report included an example where 10 tenants in Redbridge borough – including two children – were forced to share a damp and mouldy kitchen in a mouse and cockroach-infested house, waiting 10 months for work to carried out.
Despite being prosecuted by Redbridge Council, the landlord faced a fine of just £3,000.
Cllr Mike Jones, chairman of the LGA’s environment and housing board, said: “The current system for prosecuting rogue landlords is not fit for the 21st century.
“Criminal landlords are exploiting this and endangering tenants’ lives.
“We need a system which protects the good landlords, whose reputation is being dragged down by the bad ones.
“Councils are doing everything they can to tackle the rising levels of rogue landlords caused by the housing crisis.
“However, they are being hamstrung by a system wracked by delays, bureaucracy and feeble fines.”