News

Waltham Forest Council reveal large increase in landlord prosecutions

Monday, May 9, 2016 - Waltham Forest Council

Following the roll-out of borough-wide selective licensing, Waltham Forest Council have been stepping up enforcement action against those that have not yet applied.

To date, twelve Waltham Forest landlords have been prosecuted for failing to apply for a selective licence, known locally as the Council’s Private Rented Property Licencing (PRPL) scheme. The courts have ordered fines and costs of over £60,000.

In March 2015 Waltham Forest Council launched its landlord licensing scheme to drive up property standards and reduce anti-social behaviour across the borough. The scheme requires all landlords operating in the borough to have a separate licence for each property they rent out in the private sector.

Once in possession of a licence landlords must comply with certain conditions otherwise they could be prosecuted and fined.

Since the scheme launched last year, 19,000 licence applications have been submitted. The council is now proactively seeking out private rented properties where no licence application has been made, with court action taken against landlords who ignore warnings about the need to obtain a licence.

Meantime, those landlords that have delayed their application will also have to pay a higher fee. In April 2016, the cost of obtaining a licence has increased from £500 to £650, an increase of 30%.

Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, Cabinet Member for Housing said:

Landlords have now had ample time to apply for their licence, so there is simply no excuse to not have one in place by now.

Any landlord who thinks they can avoid it needs to think again, as they could soon receive a visit from us and end up in court. We are determined to ensure that every privately rented property in the borough obtains a licence.

Regular action days are now being carried out by the Council, using intelligence to uncover landlords who are shirking their responsibility to obtain a licence, and to also identify properties where poor living conditions are suspected.

Over 7,500 properties have been visited during action days so far. Officers have uncovered very poor living conditions in the private rented sector, including a property that was claiming to be owner occupied, but was actually being rented by 11 people living in extremely cramped conditions. In cases like this the landlord are served with a legal notice to make the required improvements, or they could face further action from the Council including prosecution.

More information about property licensing is available at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/waltham-forest and a new licence application service is now available for landlords who need assistance (read here).  

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