Should landlords be licenced? This was the focus of a meeting of Walthamstow tenants on 7th December, addressed by Stella Creasy, MP and Councillor Marie Pye and co-organised by Movement for Change.
The question may not seem immediately relevant to leaseholders, but read on. Firstly when when landlords ignore major repairs or infestations, it means misery for the tenants but has the potential to affect neighbours. Then there is the question of rubbish disposal. There were reports of both letting agents and landlords failing to manage the departure of former tenants, leaving new tenants to deal with the matter. This was a common cause of rubbish dumped in front gardens or streets.
The meeting came about because of the number of complaints from tenants about both landlords and letting agencies. A dismal picture of misery and insecurity emerged, with letting agencies often compounding the failures of landlords. Tenants paid deposits based on rents that were later raised, others reported seeing their own addresses, advertised on websites at higher rents. One young mother had moved out after failing to get a mouse infestation resolved.
Councillor Pye has found that landlords, perhaps predictably, are far from keen on the idea but said the scale of poor conditions and overcrowding means something needs to be done to curb the behaviour of irresponsible landlords. Newham introduced a similar scheme this year and claim it has reduced the number of bad landlords.
What do you think? The council is currently holding a consultation to gather people’s views. Find out more and add your voice to the debate.