East London Council extends licensing scheme

The landlord licensing register set up in 2016 covering Whitechapel, Spitalfields and parts of Bethnal Green is being extended to 2026 by Tower Hamlets Council.

The decision was approved by the mayor and his cabinet this week after public consultations.

The scheme covers all private renting in areas with high volumes of tenant properties, mainly along the City Fringe.

We are using our powers to protect renters,” mayor John Biggs said. “But we want the government to let us do even more so we can extend the scheme to stick up for the rights of renters across the whole borough. We’ll keep lobbying the government on this.” 

The current licensing scheme running since October 2016 puts a legal duty on landlords and managing agents to register their properties.

The town hall now wants to run it more widely to include areas like Shadwell, Limehouse, Poplar, Bow and the Isle of Dogs in order to tip the balance towards tenants.

The Renters’ Charter also protects tenants from eviction if the landlord has not applied for a licence, while current licences need to be renewed when they expire.

Cllr Eve McQuillan said: “We’re clear that we’re on the side of tenants and want to see reforms in private renting to reset the balance between landlords and renters.

“Too many landlords still fail in their obligations to tenants. Landlord licensing has been a game changer.” 

The scheme especially targets rogue landlords who inflict evictions on a whim if tenants complain about poor or dangerous housing conditions.

It also puts pressure on landlords to make improvements to living standards.

The council is promising tougher measures like fining landlords who fail to license their properties and to enforce “effective management”  to stop anti-social activity and take action if they fail to maintain properties to a good standard.

The authority has recovered £320,000 so far in rent repayment orders for tenants where landlords have failed to license their properties.



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