Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Tackling criminal landlords and cracking down on anti-social behaviour are at the heart of Haringey Council's proposals to license private rented properties.

As part of the consultation that finishes on the 5th March, residents are being invited to give their views on plans to roll out two licensing schemes:

  • A Haringey-wide licensing scheme covering all houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and

  • A targeted scheme for all privately rented homes in parts of the borough with the biggest problems.

Under the proposals, landlords covered by the schemes would be required to keep their properties safe and well maintained and deal with any problems associated with their tenants such as fly-tipping, untidy gardens and other anti-social behaviour. If landlords fail to meet the standards set out in their licence then the council can take enforcement action.

This link has more information and the questionnaire to fill in - the council especially wants to hear from landlords and tenants who rent privately.

http://www.haringey.gov.uk/housing/housing-consultations/current-ho...

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Office space, employers NI contributions, pensions, insurance, equipment. I'd say it's a manger and maybe 9 staff.

I am pleased I was able to see this and submit the survey. As a competent and caring Landlord I already undertake all the stipulations of the licence so now I have to pay to do what I am doing now. This is not an easy time for Landlords, with rising interest rates, loss of tax concessions and new criteria for getting buy to let mortgages, along with rents staying static. All this at a time when more people are renting and Landlords should be dissuaded from giving up and selling up and reducing the rentable stock. May I also say that today I took a non paying tenant to court. The process has taken 7 months and even though I now have been granted the Possession Order there is much bureaucracy to go through and extra loss of rent before I can legally evict the tenant. This will cost me around £10k. I had absolutely adhered to every rule, regulation, stipulation and legal requirement as well as providing an attractive flat and sorting out maintenance issues very quickly. If I had not done just one of these things the tenant could have won the case in court. He simply chose to live rent free in a nice flat in Muswell Hill for 9 months. If I did not have a financial contingency I would have been out of business. It is not the Landords who should be licenced, it is the tenants! 

Helen, there are a lot of decent landlords like you out there.  A walk down any of the streets on The Ladder is sad proof that there are also many who are not - the poorly maintained buildings, the three bedroom houses with multiple door bells, rooms with so many beds in them you wonder how the tenants can even move around in them.  I think it isn’t the council you should feel aggrieved with but the property owners who’s desire to squeeze every penny out of desperate people outweighs any notion of treating people decently.

A move to a mandatory licensing scheme isn’t happening because of some idle fancy, it’s because it is urgently needed.

I read your post Helen and appreciate that there are good landlords out there. But that doesn't mean there shouldn't be a landlord licensing scheme. It is vital that the private rented sector is regulated so abuses and poor practices can be dealt with by the local authority. Have clear standards for housing protects both tenants and landlords, since failure to maintain properties, do repairs, ensure health and safety can result in tragedies. Renting is now very much a business, and as such needs controls and boundaries. 

As councillors we only see the tip of the private sector renting iceberg, but even that gives a picture of a sector in dire need of stronger regulation and enforcement to ensure housing is at east to minimally acceptable standards.

Can I please urge everyone to respond to the consultation. The money raised from the fees will be ringfenced for environmental health and enforcement  and should lead to definite improvements in the sector as we work with landlords. 

Zena 

Zena Brabazon

Cllr, Harringay Ward

email: zena.brabazon@haringey.gov.uk

Hear hear

Zena well said

I replied when I received the link, and firmly believe rogue landlords need to be weeded out.  This will go some way to making them take their responsibilities seriously, although I really hope the enforcement team will keep on top of it.  I suspect they will have their work cut out in Haringey.  It's not hard to spot the unloved homes dotting the area

It is ring fenced. It's only allowed to be spent on transport related costs. It just so happens that every resident of Haringey over the age of 65 is entitled to free travel, and this money is allowed to pay for that.

Quite right too !

It is ring fenced Jane.  You can check both the council budget and the audited accounts each year to see where it is spent.  As John points out, a large proportion goes on concessionary travel which is administered by local authorities

No budget is truly "ringfenced".
It's a truth universally acknowledged that a single council in possession of a good fortune from running its Parking Service as a business must and will always find transport related purposes to spend it on. The conseqent savings from which will accrue to the General Fund.

An important point has been raised by Osbawn. Much of the worst overcrowding in private rented accommodation should already be controlled by the the existing HMO regulations. These landlords should already be licenced. How will new regulations ensure that this does indeed happen? It seems that the compliant landlords will be paying (along with non HMO landlords too) and the non compliant ones won't, as indeed is already happening. I am a landlord and I would not have known about these new potential regulations if I had not seen them on this site. How will landlords be contacted about this? Not many tenants will forward mail that arrives at their addresses that is not relevant to them. If we use Agents to rent properties for us then they could be obliged to ensure we are licenced but if we rent our properties by private means, how will the authorities even know that a property is rented out? How can we get the discount for early payment if we don't even know about the scheme? 

This may indeed lead to increased rents. If tenants are looking for higher standard accommodation so move to an area with licenced landlords then this will be of a higher rent in any case as the properties may be better, but the main thing is that landlords have been financially targeted in the past 3 years by government legislation which dramatically reduces profits and indeed, if there is a mortgage, then the annual rent minus the outgoings leaves very little, and this naturally discourages the landlords from maintaining their properties well. This is assuming the tenant is paying the rent as they should. Rents have been static for the past 2 years and property prices are stabilising. Interest rates are going up, reducing profits further. Buildings insurance is also increasing, as are service charges for flats. Many landlords are already starting to sell up and there is a danger that rental housing stock will reduce to a level below need at a time when people can not easily buy a place of their own. Also if the rental stock is reduced, rents will go up as there will be more competition and there is a limit to what people can afford so homelessness could increase further at a time when Local Authorities do not have enough properties available for people in need. 

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