Private renters given better protection by new H&F scheme

More than 2,100 landlords have applied to Hammersmith & Fulham Council for property licences, which aim to make life better for renters while supporting the best landlords.

“We’re determined to protect renters from unscrupulous landlords by extending requirements for landlords to license their properties and to meet higher standards for their tenants,” said Cllr Lisa Homan, H&F Cabinet Member for Housing.

“These new standards enable us to take action against poor landlords and against tenants who cause persistent levels of anti-social nuisance to their landlords and neighbours.”

A third of H&F residents rent their homes privately.

Fire safety and bins

As part of the new scheme, H&F Council asked landlords if their properties have adequate fire precautions. In response, landlords told H&F about more than 400 properties that may not be safe in the event of a fire – potentially affecting more than 1,400 residents. The council is now working with these landlords to ensure their tenants are as safe as possible in their properties.

In addition, we’ve asked landlords if their properties have adequate space for storing waste and recycling. Landlords have alerted us to 200 properties that don’t. This is a requirement for landlords and we’re now discussing with landlords how this can be improved.

Better standards

The new standards package – which was approved in December 2016 – consists of five new measures:

  • New standards for licensed rental properties to ensure tenants are safe and problems to neighbours, such as rubbish, are managed.
  • Additional landlord licensing requires landlords across the borough to get a licence if they let a property occupied by at least three people who do not make up a single household and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
  • Selective licensing requires all landlords letting a property on named streets, where anti-social behaviour has been a problem, to get a licence.
  • A new landlords’ rental charter encourages landlords to commit to best practice in management, housing standards, living rent, charges, protecting tenants’ deposits and security of tenancies.
  • A new social lettings agency puts potential renters in touch with the best local landlords who meet all the higher standards expected. 

If you’d like to make an application for a property licence, click here.  Landlords without the right licence may face prosecution.

Reaction

More than 2,000 people replied to a consultation on these new measures and there was a majority in support of each one.

Hammersmith estate agent John Horton, founder of independent firm Horton and Garton based in King Street, backed the council’s move. “I firmly support the council’s efforts to raise the standards for all landlords across the borough,” he said.

“It’s important that landlords understand their responsibilities – and thankfully the majority are extremely responsible. It’s also great news for the huge number of local renters who now have more protection and can expect higher standards from landlords.”

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