London Mayor and Tory leadership wannabee Boris Johnson wants rogue operators in the private rental sectors to be banned with repeat offenders given steep fines – and in particular he says he wants letting agents to be more transparent on fees.
He also wants a public database of criminal landlords, increased practical support for tenants bringing private prosecutions, more control by the London Assembly over landlord licensing schemes in the capital.
The statement comes in Johnson’s response to the government’s consultation into how to improve the private rental sector, which across Greater London is thought to constitute around 40 per cent of all households.
The demands – made in a story in London’s Evening Standard giveaway newspaper – also includes a demand by Johnson’s deputy mayor, Richard Blakeway, for a “more formal role and powers” for the London Assembly.
“This is in the spirit of not placing additional burdens on good landlords but strengthening London-wide efforts to eradicate bad practice by landlords and agents” he says.
A 16-page document has been posted on the website of the Department of Communities and Local Government, and announced through the Twitter accounts of the DCLG and housing minister Brandon Lewis – this is what Johnson and his team are responding to.
The DCLG document says the government is considering blacklisting serial offenders – including letting agents – in, for example, these circumstances:
– Offender has been convicted (or sentenced) in the Crown Court for any offence involving fraud, violence, drugs or sexual assault which was committed at any residential premises which the offender (or a person associated with him) owned or was involved in the management of and which neither he, nor the associated person, occupied as their main residence;
– Offender has been convicted (or sentenced) in the Crown Court for any offence that was committed against or in conjunction with any person who was residing at the residential premises owned by the offender (other than a person associated with him);
– Where an offender has been found guilty on two or more occasions of a relevant housing offence (whether in the magistrates’ court or in the Crown Court).