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Islington seeks fairer deal for renters

Words: Laura Edgar
Renting / iStock-96306617

Islington Council plans to launch two new landlord licensing schemes in its bid to improve conditions for renters.

A borough-wide scheme licensing houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) will require landlords who rent out property occupied by three or more unrelated tenants to get a licence. This includes certain blocks of flats.

The council said HMOs in the borough have some of the poorest housing standards, and many have inadequate fire safety measures.

A pilot HMO scheme was launched in 2015 for Caledonian Road and Holloway Road, which the council said has led to an improvement in the management of properties.

Islington will also implement a selective licensing scheme in the Finsbury Park ward to build on the borough-wide licensing scheme.

The council rates the condition of rented housing in Finsbury Park as the poorest in the borough. Many people there face high levels of deprivation, and so risk being taken advantage of by rogue landlords.

To address this, the Finsbury Park scheme requires landlords to obtain a licence when they rent out a property to be occupied by either a single household or two people sharing.

The schemes would allow the local authority to set minimum standards for property management, including the provision of kitchen and bathroom facilities, room sizes and health and safety.

It is also hoped that the licensing schemes would level the playing field for responsible landlords – accredited landlords could be offered a discounted application fee.

Diarmaid Ward, executive member for housing and development, said: “Licensing schemes are powerful tools to help us protect private renters as they enable the council to use data to identify properties with poor conditions and take appropriate enforcement action. The council can and does act to protect private renters and we’ve taken significant enforcement action against rogue landlords and dodgy lettings agents recently.

“Schemes like this also help the council to ensure that conscientious landlords are rewarded. There are a great many responsible landlords in the borough and schemes like this help to level the playing field.”

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