It just got easier to tackle criminal landlords in London

Nov 18, 2020 10:00 AM
  1. It is estimated that one in seven homes in England is criminally unsafe - but the good news is it just got easier for tenants in London to do something about this. Sadiq Khan has today brought in a tool for renters to check if their home needs a licence.

Local councils are responsible for identifying and putting a stop to criminal landlords. In some cases, tenants can even claim rent back from a landlord who breaks the law.

But councils are not doing much to help renters identify illegal practice and exercise their rights which means that many landlords are getting away with criminal behaviour.

One protection tenants have is the right to a Rent Repayment Order if their landlord needs a licence but doesn’t have one. Throughout England, rented homes where 2 or more households (of 5 or more people in total) share a kitchen or bathroom must have a licence as a House in Multiple Occupation. Many councils licence other types of homes in addition to those covered by "mandatory" licensing. We estimate that 1 in 8 private renters in London live in a property without the correct license.

Most councils have a list of licensed properties on their website, but it’s often hidden away – some *cough* Hull *cough* even make you pay to see them! But it should be easy for any tenant to find out if a property needs a licence and if it has one.

That’s why we’ve been calling on councils and city regions to do this so today we are delighted that Sadiq Khan has taken up our call and has made it easy for Londoners to find out if their rented home needs a licence and check if it has one – his property licence checker can be found here.

Until councils and mayors in the rest of the country follow suit, it will continue to be inaccessible for those of us outside London to check if our landlord is legit. The more information private renters have about our homes, the more empowered we will be.

You can find more information about the rights you have over your home here and a list of places you get expert advice here.

We continue to campaign for a national register of landlords - please sign our petition here.