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Rogue Landlord Crackdown Continues

The crackdown on rogue landlords in Waltham Forest continued on Thursday 3 March as Council enforcement officers, accompanied by teams from the Police and the Home Office, carried out the latest in a series of action days.

Action days are now taking place regularly across the borough as part of Waltham Forest Council’s efforts to improve standards in the private rented sector and make streets safer and cleaner.

Waltham Forest Council is a flagship borough for improving conditions in the private rented sector and reducing anti-social behaviour through its Landlord Licensing Scheme. Action days are used to uncover landlords who are shirking their responsibility to obtain a licence.

Yesterday’s activity in the south of the borough found, amongst other things, a property that was claiming to be owner occupied, but was actually rented by 11 people living in extremely cramped conditions.

“It is now almost a year since the launch of our Landlord Licensing scheme, and we’ve had a great response with around 18,000 applications made by landlords”, said Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, Cabinet Member for Housing. “However the work does not step there and we are determined to ensure that every privately rented property in the borough is licenced.

“These action days should serve as a stark warning to any landlord who thinks they can get away with not having a licence. There are more action days to come, so don’t be surprised if you get a knock on the door from us very soon.”

John Healey MP, Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning, visited the borough to see the action day taking place. He said: “I enjoyed visiting Waltham Forest today to see the work the council is doing to drive up standards in the private rented sector. Across the country, but particularly in London, too many private renters are forced to live in poorly maintained homes, and councils like Waltham Forest are leading the way in ensuring that minimum standards are met.”

During the full-day operation over 600 properties were visited, nearly 150 doors were answered to officers and 14 properties were identified that are liable for prosecution. 24 full licence inspections were carried out, and eight new properties were identified as requiring a licence.

Officers from the Council’s Neighbourhoods team also took part in the day, tackling a number of environmental and street cleanliness issues. They inspected 823 front gardens, identifying 57 that required cleaning, and leafleted 265 properties for fly-tipping and waste prevention issues. 41 fly-tips were cleared, as well as being searched and investigated to see if the culprits could be identified.

Landlords found without a licence will be subject to enforcement action that could result in a prosecution and an unlimited fine. Once in possession of a licence, landlords that do not comply with the conditions of licence could also be subject to a maximum fine of £5000 on conviction.

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