Landlords need to be wary of unscrupulous tenants

by Daniel Jones

Newham's landlords are already likely to be aware of the local authorities crackdown on rogue operators ahead of the London Olympics next year, but they also need to be wary of rogue tenants.

New measures pushed through parliament with the help of Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham, will give private-sector tenants in Newham better protection from unscrupulous landlords.

The powers will crackdown specifically on houses of multiple occupancy, which often see individuals living in cramped and unsafe conditions, sometimes contributing to a rise in antisocial behaviour and noise nuisance.

Ms Brown explained: "These measures will serve to protect residents and will enable Newham council to prosecute landlords that flouted the rules."

To support these measures, Newham Council has launched a NewStart scheme, to support families and tenants keen to move into more spacious housing.

Such action has been broadly welcomed by the industry, but there is also widespread recognition of the threat to landlords posed by unscrupulous tenants, underlining the importance of ensuring conditions of tenancy agreements are met.

A survey carried out by Mortgage Solutions in July showed that mortgage brokers are keen to see landlords given greater protection against rogue tenants.

National Landlords Association policy officer David Cox told the publication that landlords can often do little to address antisocial behaviour perpetrated by tenants staying in their properties.

"We believe councils should advise landlords when there has been a complaint made against their tenants so the landlord can work with them to take appropriate action," he explained. "We would also like to see the time it takes to get a court hearing significantly reduced in order to deal with problem tenants more quickly."

Speaking to the Economist about the action in Newham to address landlord malpractice, York University's Julie Rugg, who was commissioned to author a study about the letting sector by the government, claimed that both landlords and tenants are at fault.

"There are multiple examples of sharp practice on both sides," she noted.

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Published on: December 29, 2011

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