A crack down on crime has emerged as one of the main benefits of a councils push to licence every buy to let and HMO home in their borough.
Police have made more than 100 arrests for offences relating to immigration, drug dealing, assault, theft, fraud and harassment in Newham, East London, as the council pursues a policy of licensing 35,000 buy-to-lets and houses in multiple occupation (HMO).
The council has found around 5% of private rented homes in the borough are used by criminals.
The figures were revealed when the council disclosed the latest update of their private rented home licensing scheme.
The statistics show that since the scheme started on January 1, 2013:
- 30,000 buy to let and HMO homes have been licensed – at a cost of £150 for five years for early birds who applied in the first month and £500 for later applicants.
- 2,320 properties have received warning letter about signing up – with 50% joining the scheme after the first letter.
- 63 operations have taken place to tackle multiple unlicensed and poorly managed HMOs
- 110 landlords face investigations, including 67 prosecutions for failing to licence or properly manage HMOs and 43 cautions and £300 enforcement notices issued for lower level failure-to-license offences
Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “It is clear from our consultation that our residents, including tenants in private sector homes, massively back our plans.
“This scheme shows that Newham is leading the country when it comes to tackling bad landlords who flout the law.
“We want to ensure that buy to let and HMO properties are well managed and meet a good standard. We also want to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour that is sometimes associated with bad private sector rented housing.
“There are good landlords in Newham and we want to work with them. Unfortunately there are also some unscrupulous ones – which these proposals would target.”
“Good landlords have nothing to fear from this scheme. For the bad ones, this a clear message they must clean up their act – or pay the price. One bad house can drag down a whole street. We are doing this for the community.”
Several councils in London and the regions are believed to be watching the results of the Newham licensing project with a view to introducing similar schemes in their areas.