London landlords and letting agents pay £1m a year in fines

Melissa Lawford is reporting in the Telegraph that London’s landlords and letting agents are being charged £1m a year in fines as councils attempt to tackle rogue traders, new analysis has revealed.

It can be seen here (subscription may be required), and says:

Local authorities in the capital have billed the lettings sector £8.16m in fines for bad practice since 2015, according to data company Kamma, which analysed data from the Mayor of London’s Rogue Landlord and Agent Tracker.

In the past 12 months alone, the lettings sector was charged £1.02m.

Each individual landlord was fined £4,357 on average, while letting agents were fined £4,689.

Nearly two fifths of all fines issued to landlords and agents were to those who failed to meet regulations or licensing scheme requirements – such as those for houses in multiple occupation.

The remainder of the fines were for a mixture of offences including fraud and redress scheme issues.

Camden Council has charged landlords and letting agents £1.81m in fines since 2015, the highest total for any local authority in the city.

It was followed by Waltham Forest, which has issued a total of £1.47m in fines.

The Government and local authorities have introduced a raft of new regulations for the buy-to-let sector in recent years in a bid to improve the quality of Britain’s rental stock.

In 2020, the Government introduced a new requirement for landlords to get a certificate to prove they have done electrical safety checks every five years, or face fines of up to £30,000.

Landlords who rent properties with five or more tenants must have a mandatory HMO licence, or face an unlimited fine. Local authorities are also able to set their own HMO licensing requirements if a property is occupied by three or more tenants from a different household.

In 2022, councils set up 52 new licensing schemes across the country, according to Kamma.

Orla Shields, of the company, said: “It is because there is more enforcement rather than because there has been a sharp deterioration in standards. Enforcement is being invested in more heavily. This regulation of the sector is needed because not every landlord has the best intentions.”

The Government also plans to introduce a requirement that all privately rented properties meet the Decent Homes Standard – a minimum standards benchmark that is already in place in the social rented sector.

The Rogue Landlord and Agent Tracker was launched in 2018 but includes convictions since 2015. The data reflects fines that have been charged, rather than cash collected.

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