Call for compulsory register of private landlords
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing, Regulation
Labour councillors in Westminster are calling for the establishment of a compulsory register of private landlords after new figures revealed poor practice in the sector.
Data released by Westminster City Council showed that of 1,712 privately rented properties inspected in 2011/12, 206 were handed legal notices.
Residential environmental health officers also removed 771 hazards, including causes of excess cold and dampness, and fire and fall threats.
As a result of the inspections, 111 shared houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) were improved, 461 homes were made decent and seven prosecutions were made.
Westminster has one of the largest private rented sectors in the UK, with an estimated 40 percent of the borough's 109,000 homes belonging to private landlords.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said: “The scale of the problems found by the council’s inspectors is very worrying and there are strong arguments for the council to establish a compulsory landlord registration scheme so that all landlords have to meet certain basic standards before they are allowed to let property. Westminster has the highest concentration of private flats in the UK and proper regulation is needed if tenants are to be properly protected from the minority of bad landlords.”