Council hands out £150,000 in fines to 27 ‘rogue’ landlords and letting agents

Council hands out £150,000 in fines to 27 ‘rogue’ landlords and letting agents

A London local authority has dished out hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fines to buy-to-let landlords in the area who have been caught indulging in illegal practices.

In recent weeks, Tower Hamlets council has been checking-up on some 401 landlords and letting agents listed on its database. Specifically, it has been investigating those that have received complaints from private tenants, whether these relate to hidden fees, health and safety concerns or other dubious practices.

The news comes after the council was one of the first in the country to sign up to the Mayor of London’s ‘rogue landlord checker’ programme in May, which was set up to help local authorities crack down on problem landlords in their areas.

In just a month’s time, Tower Hamlets council has collected a total of £150,000 from so-called ‘rogue’ landlords and letting agents – many of whom were found to be charging ‘hidden fees’ to their tenants.

In other cases, landlords and letting agents were not complying with laws which require them to clearly advertise their fees online, or rules which require landlords to make accessible information such as whether their agent is registered with a Client Money Protection Scheme or if they are acting in accordance with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Such schemes can provide a crucial failsafe for tenants in the event of an unexpected dispute.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said that it was “disappointing” that a small number of landlords and letting agents in the area had been “acting dishonestly and misleading people looking for a home.”

He added: “We are making sure people are not exploited by rogue landlords or letting agents and won’t tolerate those trying to mislead people.”