Tower Hamlets council is leading the charge against bad letting and managing agents after handing out fines totalling around £150,000.
Tower Hamlets was one of the initial boroughs to become part of Sadiq Khan’s rogue landlord checker and has made checks on the 401 agents and landlords in the borough listed on the database as well as investigating potential rogue agents reported by the public.
Following the introduction of the rogue landlord database and ahead of letting agent regulation, which is coming at some point, Tower Hamlets has been running a major investigation into whether letting agents state clearly:
Following these investigations, Tower Hamlets council has penalised more than 25 agents across the borough for non-compliance, issuing £150,000 of fines ranging from £1,000 to £10,000.
The agents – who have not been named – have been told to instigate changes to immediately to ensure they comply with legislation and will face further checks to ensure this has been done.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We are committed to ensuring people wanting to live in our borough are not exploited by rogue letting agents or landlords. We will not tolerate individuals or organisations actively trying to mislead our residents.”
Cllr Sirajul Islam, Deputy Mayor for Housing (Statutory Deputy Mayor), said: “We are protecting our residents by ensuring they have all of the information needed prior to renting their property. Transparency from letting agents, managing agents and landlords is imperative to ensure the process is fair for everyone involved.”
In my view, it’s essential that all agents – whether self-regulating or not – start to take their role in providing a great service to both tenants and landlords. The lack of enforcement to date has meant many agents (and indeed landlords) have been allowed to get away with poor service standards that mean properties are not being let to tenants legally and safely. Quite simply, agents doing this should be stopped in their tracks.
Congratulations are due to Tower Hamlets for taking the time and making this great effort to enforce the laws they already have. As I’ve pointed out in my recent TDS report, the lack of enforcement has made letting property more profitable for rogues and put a financial squeeze on good landlords and agents. That’s not the way to run an industry and hopefully if more councils take their lead from Tower Hamlets and indeed Newham, the PRS would be running a lot more smoothly.
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