Camden to lead crackdown on cowboy landlords with name and shame database
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Camden is one of six boroughs to sign up to the pilot of a new name and shame database to tackle rogue agents and landlords in the private rented sector
Sadiq Khan announced yesterday that plans will go ahead to name and shame rogue landlords and letting agents who break the law and exploit their tenants through illegal evictions, unfair rent rises and poor accommodation. A new online database on the Mayor’s website is being launched in partnership with six councils, including Camden, to protect London’s two million private renters.
The database, which is the first central online tool for renters of its kind, will include those agents and landlords who have been successfully prosecuted for housing offences and will enable renters to check who they are renting from before they sign a tenancy agreement. It will also allow tenants to report those agents and landlords whom they suspect of criminal behaviour.
Councillor Pat Callaghan, cabinet member for housing at Camden Council, said: “We’re delighted to work with the Mayor of London to contribute to the database which will allow tenants in Camden to wise up about criminal landlords they may come across, so they can access safe and well-maintained housing.”
The announcement came after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan joined a raid in Newham. The Mayor said: “I refuse to stand by as thousands of Londoners suffer sky-high rents and horrendous living conditions in a city they call home.
“Today I have seen first-hand the abysmal conditions that some of London’s private renters are forced to endure as a result of rogue landlords. I want to be clear that the vast majority of landlords treat renters well – but a minority are exploiting their tenants and it’s simply unacceptable. This must stop now.”
Green Party London Assembly Member Sian Berry was thrilled by the annoucnement, having pressed the Mayor on his manifesto pledge many times. “It’s great that London renters will finally be able to check out landlords and letting agents before risking their hard-earned cash,” she says. “When more than 1,500 Londoners responded to my survey about renting I was overwhelmed with complaints about poor service from letting agents and dodgy landlords, and many people said they felt threatened into not complaining about sudden price hikes and bad living conditions.
“I’ve been pushing the Mayor to do more for renters and I’m pleased this useful resource will be available to help people to avoid being exploited by criminal landlords and letting agents.
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“Along with the database the Mayor should provide information for renters know what their rights are and what to do when they suspect their landlord or letting agent is acting in an illegal way. This should be available in a clear, accessible way to help Londoners and councils put a stop to dodgy landlords and letting agents who have so far escaped justice.”
It is hoped that the database will deter rogue agents and landlords from exploiting their tenants and will empower prospective tenants in the largely unregulated private rental sector. The project is being launched in conjunction with six councils, Newham, Brent, Southwark, Kingston, Sutton and Camden, with others to follow in the Autumn.
The move comes as campaigners continue to press for improved regulations in the private rented sector and a ban on letting agents fees. It was recently revealed that Camden was one of only four councils enforcing penalties on rogue agents who failed to display their fees, taking £10,500 in fines.
The first meeting of the London Borough Private Rented Sector Partnership was held on 25th April, which hopes to improve coordination between the boroughs. The Mayor has also announced his plants for a Homes for Londoners portal on City Hall’s website, which will include details of affordable homes and information for house hunters.
It seems that the ball is finally rolling on much needed protections for tenants in the private rented sector with the Mayor making good on his manifesto pledge. You can find out more about your rights as a tenant here.