The rights of private renters in Tower Hamlets are being promoted with the launch of the Tower Hamlets Private Renters’ Charter on Thursday June 29.
The key message within the Charter is that every private renter has the right to live in a safe and secure home, and to be treated fairly by their landlord or agent.
The Charter was officially launched by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, and Statutory Deputy Mayor Cllr Sirajul Islam, who is Tower Hamlets Cabinet Member for Housing.
The Charter is backed by a broad range of organisations, who will also provide specialist assistance and guidance for renters.
For the first time in generations the majority of homes in Tower Hamlets (40 per cent) are now rented from private landlords, compared with 36 per cent social rented homes.
This amounts to 46,000 privately rented homes, and this figure is set to increase year on year, as the borough’s population of 300,000 is estimated to leap to 374,000 by 2026.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said:
“Raising standards within the private rented sector is a key part of our Housing Strategy and a big issue for increasing numbers of residents who rely on the private sector to rent their home.
“Standards are already being raised through our landlord licensing work, and this Charter provides a quick and easy way for all private renters to find out what their rights are, what standards they should expect, and where to go for help.”
Councillor Sirajul Islam, Tower Hamlets Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing said:
“The vast majority of local landlords and agents act professionally and treat their tenants with respect. We want to ensure that all private landlords reach these high standards.
“It’s great to have the support of so many partners signing up to the Charter and helping to safeguard the rights of private tenants.”
The Charter includes a simple infographic which sets out the key rights and standards that private renters should expect. These include:
- your protection in law against discrimination
- letting fees must be displayed in offices and online
- your agent must belong to an independent complaints scheme.
- your tenancy terms must be fair and understandable, without hidden surprises
- rents should not increase during the fixed period of your tenancy
- there are strict rules in place if your landlord wants you to move out.
Safe and Secure
- you must have annual gas safety checks carried out by a certified Gas Safe engineer
- your home should be free from damp and mould problems
- your home must have a working smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector if you have solid fuel heating
- your home must be in good condition, and any repairs must be done in a timely way.
Full details of Private Renters’ Charter and where residents can go for support from the Council and other private renter support organisations is available on the dedicated website link:
A publicity, poster and social media campaign will support the promotion of the Charter so that new and existing private renters are made fully aware of what they should expect from their landlords and agents.
John Stewart, Policy Manager at the Residential Landlords Association said:
"The RLA is pleased to endorse the Tower Hamlets Private Renters' Charter. It provides clear and simple guidance for tenants about the standard their home should meet and what their landlord and agent is responsible for.
“Well informed tenants who understand their rights and responsibilities help maintain standards in the sector and when backed up by effective enforcement, can deny space for the crooks, who give the whole sector a bad name, to operate."
Michael Stoop, Vice-Chair, The Property Ombudsman Service said:
“I am pleased to endorse the Tower Hamlets Private Renters’ Charter which will publicise the rights of renters, and when backed up with enforcement action, will also help to take out rogue landlords.”
Key partners supporting the Charter
The Charter is backed by a number of tenant and advice agencies including the Tower Hamlets Federation of Tenants & Residents Associations, East End Citizens Advice Bureau, Renters’ Rights London, Tower Hamlets Law Centre, Praxis Community Projects, Queen Mary University of London, Bromley by Bow Centre, Generation Rent, and Shelter.
The Charter includes details on a range of safety measures, including fire and electrical safety, that private renters should expect from their landlords.
National organisations backing the charter include the Residential Landlords Association, ARLA Propertymark, The Property Ombudsman, Property Redress Scheme, and Ombudsman Services. The Council is also working with the National Landlords Association and is hopeful of their endorsement of the Charter in the future.
Posted on Monday 3rd July 2017