Southwark Council cracks down on rogue and criminal landlords
2 December 2021
Southwark Council announces plans to expand its crackdown on shoddy landlords.
While the majority of Southwark landlords are compliant and law abiding, a small minority neglect their businesses. Most of these people have good intentions, but lack essential knowledge of their full responsibilities. However, some are wilfully neglectful and criminal rogue landlords. The council is working to tackle both groups.
The council’s new plans follows a public consultation that shows a majority of people are in favour of licensing for private rented sector landlords.
Southwark’s private rented sector makes up about a third of all housing in the borough. It plays a vital role in meeting the housing needs of people in Southwark. Private renting housing has grown from a little under nine per cent in the 2011 census results, to 29 per cent in 2019.
Southwark Council currently regulates the largest houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), like bedsits, and shared houses with five or more people. The council’s Mandatory licensing scheme places a legal responsibility on landlords; who must apply for a license and comply with conditions that help to tackle issues such as overcrowding, disrepair and fire safety.
A further borough wide Additional licensing scheme will soon extend this scheme. It will be introduced in March 2022 and apply to all HMOs with three or more tenants in Southwark. In addition to this, landlords who rent properties other than HMOs, in the following areas, will need to apply for a license under new Selective licensing schemes from 1 March 2022:
- Champion Hill
- St. Giles
- Goose Green
Most homes in the private rented sector are well managed, but the council has to intervene where landlords are not managing their properties effectively. Landlords are responsible for maintaining adequate standards and treating their tenants fairly. They must also challenge their tenant’s behaviour, when it is repeatedly causing problems for neighbouring residents.
The council is working to recognise and reward professional, responsible landlords and it hopes to support and educate inexperienced, reluctant or accidental landlords. However, rogue and criminal landlords will be forced to either operate responsibly, or stop operating within the sector altogether.
Cllr Darren Merrill, Cabinet Member for a safer, cleaner borough, said: “Our previous licensing schemes have made significant progress in improving the private rented sector in Southwark. We hope that these new proposals will build on this success and deliver large-scale improvements that are needed in the borough’s private rented sector.
“We also hope to continue to build on our partnership work with good landlords. We want to support those landlords who want to manage their homes more effectively and enable more targeted and effective action against rogue landlords.”
Page last updated: 03 December 2021