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Council boasts of massive clampdown on landlords

Fines totalling more than £250,000 were issued to rogue landlords in Barking and Dagenham last year.

Offences included failing to have a licence, ignoring enforcement notices, and operating illegal HMOs.

The council became the first in the country to make it mandatory for all private landlords in the borough to have a licence.

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There have been around 15,000 applications for licences since the borough-wide scheme launched in 2019, although it is estimated around a quarter of all housing in Barking and Dagenham is private rented accommodation.

In a statement boasting of its enforcement actions, the council says at one address in its patch inspectors found 13 people living in a four-bedroom house.

A council spokeswoman says: “We know the majority of landlords in our borough understand their responsibilities – both legally and morally – to their tenants and provide much needed homes that are safe to live in.

“However, there are unfortunately some unsavoury landlords who choose to flout the rules, and that is where we will use all the legal powers available to us to take action to improve living conditions for our residents.”

Landlords whose properties fail to meet a required standard are issued an enforcement notice, which gives them a set time period to carry out any remedial work.

However, if they ignore the notice, which carries a fine of £520, they can be issued a civil penalty notice (CPN), which has a maximum penalty of up to £30,000.

Last year, Barking and Dagenham council issued 117 CPNs to the tune of £271,310 and 89 enforcement notices totalling over £46,000.

The spokeswoman adds: “Our pioneering licensing scheme has helped drive up the standards of private rental properties in our borough, but as some of these hefty fines show, we won’t hesitate to take action against the few who continue to put profit ahead of people and leave residents living in dangerous, poorly maintained homes.”

A total of 14 joint operations were carried out with the Met Police, including one where the property was been used as a brothel and found to be operating an illegal HMO property. The landlord in that particular case has been prosecuted and is awaiting the court hearing.

The council also investigated 99 cases of illegal eviction and handled 122 cases of landlord harassment over the past year – a significant rise on the year before the coronavirus pandemic.

The council’s private licensing scheme, which covers the entire borough, was the first of its kind to be given the green light by the government in the country.

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  • George Dawes

    Biting the hand that feeds it

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    The Council are raking it in big time for sure but then they waste it. They say whole Borough Licensing Scheme for Private LL’s but doesn’t say all Private LL’s, again seems half
    exempt housing Families. Broken families, Single Parent family most created by the System by huge numbers costing fortunes & destroying Society. Dagenham used to be a nice place when I worked there in the 1960’s I. can’t believe the dump it turned into, I’ll give the Council that, so many always hanging around doesn’t feel
    safe.

  • George Dawes

    Pete and dud certainly liked it

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    13 people living in one House please tell us how many on the Contract.

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    How many of those 13 people were forced or coerced to live in these properties where they can live affordably and save money. This ridiculous attack on PRS landlords impoverishes low earners, clubbing together to live cheaply. An unsafe house is a different issue. We're told how to breath fart and cough and Ive had enough of these tin post dictators interfering with things that should be left to the market. I was once going to provide hundreds of really affordable beds, but guess who stopped it happening.
    Low life bureaucracy driven scroungers in council and government jobs for life. Useless!

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    All this is simply licence to print money for the councils, with approval from all shades > blue, red and yellow govts. they should introduce such severe penalties for council employees and govt employees failing in their jobs.

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