South East

Hackney: Scrutiny commission response

Written by RLA

The RLA has been in talks with Hackney Borough Council on a consultation concerning licensing in the area. A ‘Scrutiny Commission’ has been set up to handle the consultation…

The RLA has been in talks with Hackney Borough Council on a consultation concerning licensing in the area. A ‘Scrutiny Commission’ has been set up to handle the consultation.

Hackney are considering moves to implement a licensing scheme within the entire area that would require private landlords to register their properties in a bid to tackle poor living conditions found in some of the houses in the area.

The RLA have provided a written response and will have a representative at a meeting Monday 11th November. For more information and link to survey visit the Scrutiny Commission webpage.

Key questions that the scrutiny committee were keen on consulting on include:

  1. What evidence is there of poor tenant experiences in the private rented sector?
  2. What additional or alternative options are there to a licensing scheme?
  3. What are the wider community experiences and views on any adverse issues associated with private rented lettings in their area?
  4. Does the evidence collected by the Commission support or not the case for establishing a licensing scheme?

In relation to question 1, the RLA often point to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) ‘English Housing Survey’ document FA5401: satisfaction with accommodation which shows that 83 per cent of tenants are happy with their accommodation.

With regards to question 2, the RLA believe that authorities already have a great many powers at their disposal to achieve desired outcomes that licensing often aims. Criminal landlords that provide sub-standard accommodation will continue to flout the law even in the face of licensing and more rigorous regulation.

In a bid to answer the remaining consultation questions request as fully as possible, the RLA sent a pointed email to landlords in the Hackney region asking for feedback on their experiences with the council and what they thought of proposals. One landlord suggested that the area was synonymous with high-standard of rental accommodation and that any landlord entering the market would have to be sure of good service because it is essentially what is expected of tenants.

Another respondent argued that it was in fact the council that was providing sub-standard accommodation and asked whether or not the council had any plans to improve these conditions. The implication is that private landlords are being targeted unfairly.

The RLA provided a written response to the consultation request and will have a representative at the meeting on Monday 11th November. You can view the agenda for the meeting here on the Hackney council website.

Further Information

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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.


  • Typically the decent landlords will comply and the illegal ones will continue. There is enough legislation to stop bad landlords currently.
    It just needs using, correctly.
    More excuses to load costs on to the private sector. Not a positive move.

  • I live in Waltham Forest and they too are proposing to introduce a licensing scheme that has no less than 56 sections to which landlords must comply. The terms are extreemely onerous especially in respect of nuisance. How can the landlord be made responsible for the behaviour of the tenants. The law does not allow eviction so what recourse do they have. The tenants if they are unreasonalbe and the landlord complains will just stop paying the rent and continue to make the noise. |s the landlord then to be forced to pay the costs to evict the tenants from the property?

    Also how can the landlord be made responsbile for checking that tenants are not illegal when the government has allowed them in in the first place?

    Generally the small private landlords provide excellent quality accommodation to tenants as they usually only have one or two properties and wish to protect their investment. The tenants in these properties rarely have cause for complaint.

    The problem landlords are the ones that run it as a business and have large portfolios of multi occupancy housing. These wiill continue to provide sub standard conditions and flout the regulations no matter what they are.

    The upfront cost of a five year licence is extremely punitive. What happens if you only want to rent your property for six months?

    I would agree that the social housing properties are not maintained to the standard the councils would wish to see and constantly make excuses not to carry out essential repairs to their buildings.

    I do not think the council should introduce such punitive conditions on private landlords. A yearly licence with less conditions would be acceptable.

    • Hi Jenny, thank you for your comment.

      We are aware of the Waltham Forest proposals and will be responding in due course.
      Many of your concerns are aspects we include in our consultation responses.
      It is important that local landlords engage with consultation opportunities and we urge you to get in touch with Councillors and Planning Officers to let them know that you are unimpressed with the measures in place. You can find out how to respond by following this link:
      Keep your eyes peeled for further news on the News Hub.
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