Letting agents 'getting rich off London’s housing crisis'
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance, Local Government
Tenant group forms to fight Hackney's 'shocking standards'
A group of private residents has formed to challenge "shocking standards" in Hackney.
The Digs group plans to campaign against what it sees as soaring rents, poor treatment, unregulated landlords and what it claims are letting agents that are "getting rich off London’s housing crisis".
The group plans to launch an online service called 'Rate your Landlord' where private tenants can share details on landlords and lettings agents in the London Borough.
Digs will officially be launched on the 25 October at the CLR James library in Dalston. Tenants will be able to debate directly with local councillors and council housing officers at the event.
According to the group, Hackney's private rented sector has grown by over two thirds in the last ten years, which it says is partly due to a lack of social housing and unaffordable mortgage rates. It also claims that housing shortages have allowed landlords to charge "extortionate prices for sub-standard accommodation", adding that renters need to be earning upwards of £39,000 to let in the area.
Heather Kennedy from Digs said: "The private tenants we speak to everyday are under huge pressure, they’re feeling powerless and scared for the future. People are going back to abusive homes because they can’t get housing elsewhere. They’re being forced from the communities they’ve grown up in and out of London because they can’t afford to live here anymore. And landlords right across London are refusing to house people on benefits.
"We share information and practical support to help people with their housing problems, but without looking at the big picture, nothing will change. This launch event is a chance for Hackney private tenants to start speaking collectively. It’s time for those in power to face just how bad things are for Hackney renters. Bold action is desperately needed if things are going to improve.”
Hackney private tenant Sahar Larashi added: "I found a property in Manor Park through a letting agent and paid them £500 which they told me was a holding deposit. On the date I was supposed to move in the agents didn’t get in touch and I couldn’t get through to them. When I eventually got hold of them, they told me I had failed the credit check so couldn’t move in. They refused to return my money and said they were taking it in admin fees.”