Islington Council clamps down on culpable landlords

Islington Council has warned landlords in the borough that they face fines of up to £20,000 unless they get appropriate licences and remedy fire safety issues.

As well as the prospect of prosecution and a fine, landlords face having to pay 12 months of rent for letting a property which should have been licensed.

Some 3,500 private tenants are thought to be affected by this new scheme which passed by the council earlier this month (March).  It is designed to improve living standards for people in houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

As many as two-thirds of surveyed properties (representing 141 dwellings) were found to have problems including fire alarms not working, neglected electrical systems, lack of appropriate gas safety certificates and damaged flooring and staircases.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council's executive member for housing and development, said: “Our investigation of shared properties along those two streets found widespread problems ranging from faulty fire alarms to tiny 'shoebox' rooms being rented out.

“On the back of the evidence, we’re now introducing this licensing scheme to make sure landlords are providing tenants with decent homes.”

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) Order in England and Wales, or Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 in Scotland, now require that all non-domestic properties are assessed for fire risk by a competent person. For landlords of residential properties and managing agents, these acts have greater impact; they apply to all residential properties with communal parts and so cover blocks of apartments, houses converted into self-contained flats and Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs). These now require a Fire Risk Assessment to be carried out on all communal areas and a fire policy to be in place for each individual block of apartments.

Sources: FIA website and Islington Council