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Rogue landlords fined more than £360,000 in council clampdown

Tower Hamlets Council has brought 57 successful prosecutions against rogue landlords and letting agents in the past three years as it works to protect private renters.

Courts issued fines totalling over £361,662, of which £115,461 were handed to landlords and £225,500 to letting agents. Thirteen landlords were given a criminal caution and 12 received civil penalties totalling £76,661.

Crimes included renting out unlicensed properties, failing to carry out required improvements and charging hidden fees.

The largest single fine was £167,000, given to Sterling De Vere for giving false information to clients. The estate agent was also successfully prosecuted for two other offences under the Housing Act 2004 and fined £16,200.

The council’s Selective Licensing Scheme came into force on Friday 1 October for another five years, covering all rented properties within the Weavers, Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Banglatown areas.

The council helped tenants claim back more than £360,000 from rogue landlords in 2020-21. The money was recovered using rent repayment orders (RROs) that allow the council and tenants to get back up to 12 months’ rent from landlords who fail to license properties when they are required to do so.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

“With one third of properties in Tower Hamlets on the private market we’re taking steps to protect renters’ rights. We are using our enforcement powers to clamp down on landlords who are putting profits above their tenants.”

The council operates the Mandatory Licensing Scheme (for properties with five renters or more), the Additional Licensing Scheme (three or more renters) and the Selective Licensing Scheme.

Councillor Danny Hassell, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:  

“The majority of landlords abide by the rules, but some don’t and we are prepared to take action against them. We want to work with landlords and managing agents to ensure that renters’ can live in decent quality homes in the borough.”

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Posted on Monday 18th October 2021