Landlord registration compulsory in Newham

by Sarah Ashcroft

Landlords operating in the east London borough of Newham are set to join the local authority's new accreditation scheme, which has become compulsory for all property owners.

As part of the new plans, proprietors letting out privately-rented homes will now have to admit if they have any previous criminal convictions, while also promoting health and safety standards, in a bid to improve conditions for residents, reports BBC News.

The regulations also see landlords facing fines of up to £20,000 if they fail to comply with the rules.

Council officials have launched the scheme in an attempt to tackle a long-term problem with tenants being forced substantial sums to live in poor quality dwellings in the area, with the council describing many of these properties as "slums".

Tenants have been subjected to unacceptable conditions for some time, with some homes having faulty wiring or dangerous gas appliances.

Others were infested with pests and overcrowded, as several are homes for recent immigrants.

Scotland already has a compulsory landlord licensing scheme of its own, while Welsh officials are also working on a similar initiative to protect the interests of renters across the country.

However, devising a similar programme in England has been opposed to by ministers, who instead award local authorities the power to decide the best way to target criminal landlords in their area.

Councillors in Newham have been carrying out regular raids against unlicensed landlords for the last two years, before the scheme was rolled out to all properties within the private sector.

It comes after official proposed the launch of a similar move in Liverpool, which would introduce a minimum set of standards for property owners to follow when letting out a home.

Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Russell Moffatt - the local authority's private housing manager - said proprietors who gain licenses should not be worried.

He added: "I'm sure they will never hear from us. But those that don't … tend to be the ones that have the poorest properties. We will be knocking on their doors."

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Published on: January 2, 2013

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