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Call for tougher rules on absentee landlords as Redbridge Council launches licensing scheme

PUBLISHED: 13:39 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:39 19 July 2017

File photo dated 14/10/14 of Sold and For Sale signs. Would-be home buyers are encountering more "sold" boards slapped on properties than at any other time in the last seven years, a report suggests.

File photo dated 14/10/14 of Sold and For Sale signs. Would-be home buyers are encountering more "sold" boards slapped on properties than at any other time in the last seven years, a report suggests.

PA Wire/PA Images

A resident says more needs to be done to hold to account “absentee” landlords, who let their properties fall into disrepair and don’t deal with anti-social tenants.

Bernadette Ding, of Snakes Lane East, Woodford Green, who has lived in her flat since 1997, says unavailable landlords are an escalating problem.

She said: “I live in a townhouse, where four of the six houses are now let out and people are frequently changing.

“I regularly have to clean up the forecourt as nobody takes responsibility. The forecourt road is now sinking and no landlords are available to take responsibility.”

Bernadette added that it can be a “nightmare” to find out who owns neighbouring properties when their details aren’t easily available.

She said: “The house next door to me has been let since last September but we have never seen any sign of life there.

“We were very concerned in December as there was a noise which sounded like a generator coming through our wall, disrupting our sleep.

“We managed to find the letting agent by ringing every agent in this area.”

In Redbridge, a scheme designed to improve housing standards in the private rented sector is now running in two council wards.

Last week it became compulsory for all landlords of private rented accommodation in Clementswood and Valentines wards to obtain a licence from Redbridge Council.

The licence is designed to tackle the problem of anti-social behaviour associated with private rented homes, said councillor Farah Hussain, cabinet member for housing.

She said: “Although many landlords are great, some of them are providing accommodation which isn’t good enough, and we want to change that.”

Under the scheme, Redbridge Council will also develop a register in order to make it easier for residents.

Cllr Hussain said: “In cases like this, the resident should be able to contact the council to identify who is responsible for a property.“

Redbridge Council have applied to Sajid Javid, secretary of state for communities and local government, to roll out the scheme to a further 12 wards.

Previously, the council had applied for the scheme to apply across the whole borough, but this was rejected.

Cllr Hussain urged residents who support the scheme but don’t live in a ward where it is set to be introduced to get in touch with Mr Javid.


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