London mayor Sadiq Khan has called on the government to double the amount that landlords can be asked to pay via a Rent Repayment Order and also announced additional funding for housing enforcement.

Khan wants Ministers to increase the amount that First Tier Tribunals can award tenants found to be living in unlicenced properties to a maximum of two years of rent each.

Because rents in London are high, fines for relatively minor trip-ups are often eye-watering in London.

In September last year a central London landlord was told to pay £25,000 back to his tenants after a procedural mistake.

Khan is also to fund a new qualification and training programme for the capital’s housing enforcement officers to encourage them to clamp down harder on criminal landlords and support vulnerable tenants.

The new course, an Advanced Professional Certificate in Private Sector Housing, aims to help councils find more appropriately-qualified staff, but the announcement makes no commitment to better fund housing enforcement in London – a key reason why so few rogue landlords are prosecuted or have RROs made against them.

The aim of the course, which is being developed in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, aims to train those with little or no experience in environmental health or private rental housing up to the standard needed to carry out the duties of a private rented sector enforcement officer to tackle rogue landlords – part of an overall ‘Better Renting Programme’ to build skills and capacity across the capital’s PRS enforcement teams.

“Every single Londoner deserves a secure, safe and comfortable home. Nearly a fifth of London’s private rented accommodation doesn’t meet basic standards and it is clear that more needs to be done to support tenants,” Khan says.

18 COMMENTS

  1. The punishment should fit the crime – yes we should make it not worth the risk for the rogue LLs, but the LL who makes a small procedural, unintentional mistake should be dealt with more leniently.

    And while we are at it – can we deal more severely with rogue tenants who walk away leaving huge debts & trashed properties in their wake?

  2. I would make it 10 years rent repayment split between tenants and the local authority (or even a 20% charge on the property) for Rogue landlords – no problem with it at all.

    All in favour of recruiting more housing enforcement officers too – so they can use the vast powers at their disposal to weed out those Rogue landlords.

    That way it becomes self-funded and removes the problem – so no need for law-abiding landlords to be licenced and charged fees.

    Now, if Mr Khan came up with a way to deal with Rogue Tenants too, I’d move to London just to vote for him. Not happening though is it.

    • That comment is daft. All it does is put a target on good landlords.

      There are have been cases of wrongful prosecutions. Where landlord have to spend thousands in legal costs to defend their position, only for cases to be dropped at the last minute.

    • What a complete idiotic idea. With average London rents at £1800, 10 years rent would be around £220,000 or fines of £300,000 for a house worth £1.5m. Who in their right mind would invest in rental properties with that hanging over their heads. It’s plonker like you that do not realise the harder you press landlords financially the more rents increase with fewer properties to rent as landlords sell up.

  3. In the above case, the landlord had to pay £25,000 for not having a license. Why pay refund of a rent to his tenants?

    Camden Council which prosecuted him, had 1,000 Fire doors missing, which only came to light after Grenfell disasters.

    • If he had a licence he wouldn’t have had to pay £25,000 – it’s not that hard to avoid it.

      The reason for the Repayment Order is to scare rogue landlords right from the moment they take in that first tenant – again, nothing for the LL to worry about if he/she and the property are legal.

      If Camden Council are at fault, remove those in charge at election.

      We all know that LLs are unfairly targeted but that doesn’t mean you add a great big target to your back – provide a legal, clean, safe and comfortable property and you have no problems (other than unfair licensing charges).

      • It really is black and white for you, isn’t it. But you miss the nuance e.g. scaring landlords puts them off investing in the sector which helps no one, least of all tenants.

  4. No mention of good Landlords. If I didn’t have to pay cgt on the sale of the very small house we have in Wales I would be out of Landloring like a shot, but sadly it’s our pension and we cant get out of it.

  5. The councils who will be tasked with this should first put their own properties in order. How many times have council tenants complained to their own landlords about the unsafe and even dangerous hazards (including fire risks) and being unable to reach a human being on other end? Councils are typically contracting out to private companies. Like the National government Privatisation with DWP etcetera. Try going through to a council and wondering which button for a particular department to connect. At least we’re told that our calls are important and that they value our service!

    • 100% Agree that Local Authorities have MAJOR shortcomings with their own (and social) properties.

      But that doesn’t mean a LL can do what he/she likes and put people at risk does it.

  6. I think Khan has ‘small man syndrome’. He loves to be the centre of attention and show everyone his importance and act the big man, yet he is very small in stature. This is another idea to put people he doesn’t like in their place. The existing situation is Draconian enough and he wants to make it doubly so. He’d probably summarily execute all landlords’ and take their houses into state control if he could. Sorry, but I don’t rate him – well I do, but extremely lowly!

  7. The fines and penalties are already far too high and unjustified for Landlords, as previously said the punishment should fit the crime, sometimes there was no crime just a legalised money collecting extortion racket. It seems Mr Sadiq Khan wants to treat Landlords the same way as he treated Chief of Police, blame her for what some minority of individuals done as if anyone could see into other people mind before they done it.
    Same thinking and mindset to fine LL’s for what Tenants done its crazy and he should resign or better still be sacked and to think thousands of pounds of LL’s C/tax is going to the Mayor each year. I think it’s £345.00 average from every c/tax Bill and we have no say what ever, (if you are a LL
    (better not mention Tribunals).

  8. I have colleague in London who is making 2 Flats out of a good size house, having gone through all the procedures, planning, Building Control, Surveyor, Architectural Drawings, massive Utility Companies costs for new supplies.
    It doesn’t end there, did you know that £2’000. per Flat was also required to by paid (£4k) up front to the Mayors Office, so over £10’000, Spent without any actual work being done, anyway as a result he is now financial trouble & don’t know what he’ll do.
    Wait for punch line the £4k has to be paid to the Mayor as soon as Planning is granted before work begins not only that he puts that charge on the Property immediately plus interest until paid, you don’t even get the chance to pay first it goes on Automatically.
    Disgraceful behaviour not fit for Office.

    • I would suggest your colleague messed up then. But I don’t believe a word of your story – if he is in “financial trouble” before “any actual work being done” where is the money to pay for the work actually coming from.

      I recently did something very similar to your friend – but I knew what my costs were so I could decide whether it was a good investment or not BEFORE I started.

      I dislike Mr Khan too, but you cannot blame every bad decision on him – the LL in the article didn’t get a Licence, your colleague didn’t do his homework – neither Mr Khans fault.

  9. The problem here is that RROs are often ineffective against criminal landlords, especially since that recent appeal where a ruling was made that you could only go after the immediate landlord, often a Ltd company with no assets, whilst the superior landlord that owns the property gets off scot-free. The landlords most likely to be caught here will be the ignorant or lay “honest” ones that make some kind of clerical error, or those who have tenants that move other people in without consent and take the number of occupants over the limit for a licence.

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