Scheme opens to crack down on rogue landlords in Barking and Dagenham
PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 August 2019
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The council is telling all private landlords in the borough to apply for a new licence as it cracks down on rogue letters.
The scheme is designed to protect renters by making sure each property is safe and well-managed.
Landlords and letting agents who let properties in Barking and Dagenham have to apply for a new Selective Licence before August 31 this year.
Letting a private property without a licence is a criminal offence.
It comes into effect at the beginning of September and is expected to cover around 20,000 homes.
Private rented homes have been the biggest growth area for housing in the borough, according to Barking and Dagenham Council, making up almost 30 per cent of its housing.
"We're absolutely determined to protect our tenants, making sure they live in safe homes that are in good condition and well managed," said Councillor Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety.
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She added the new scheme will "continue to improve standards in the private rented sector".
"We will support landlords to provide decent and safe homes to rent and we will also weed out rogue landlords who put tenants at risk and who tarnish the reputation of good landlords."
As well as ensuring good conditions for residents, the council is also hoping the measure will help it crack down on crime, antisocial behaviour and overcrowding.
Problems like rubbish in front gardens and noise are being tackled as well, as the issues are linked with overcrowded accommodation.
Licensing schemes have been criticised by some landlords as a money-grabbing by councils, with applications costing hundreds of pounds.
But authorities say they need more power to ensure homes are safe.
Barking and Dagenham Council said it had initiated 70 prosecutions and served 570 enforcement notices in the five years previous schemes were in effect.
Councillor Mullane added: "Everyone deserves a decent and safe home and we will continue to drive up standards in Barking and Dagenham to protect our residents, ensuring that no one is left behind - and we will use all the powers available to us to come down hard on those landlords who feel they can put profit before people."
Applications for a new licence can be made at lbbd.gov.uk/property-licensing.