In Hackney we're committed to supporting private renters and challenging rogue landlords. But we can only use the powers given to us by government - which is why we've always pushed for the changes we want to see to make renting in Hackney better.
In recent years the government has agreed to many of our recommendations - banning rogue landlords, publishing a database of rogue landlords, and committing to stopping letting fees for tenants. But much more still needs to be done.
Ending unfair evictions
Most of Hackney's 32,000 renters are on short fixed-term tenancies - often for just 6 or 12 months - with landlords given the power to evict them at just 2 months' notice and without giving a reason.
It's this lack of security that prevents renters from having a safe and stable home, and allows landlords to maximise their rental income if they think they can charge more to somebody else.
It's also a leading cause of homelessness in Hackney - which is already experiencing increases in rough sleeping and families living in temporary accommodation - as those evicted often have nowhere else to go.
That's why we've campaigned for an end to evictions where the tenant's not at fault - called Section 21 evictions - right away, working with Generation Rent's Unfair Evictions campaign.
The government has now agreed with the campaign and has pledged to consult on new legislation that would ban Section 21 evictions. We'll continue to ensure this commitment is delivered without delay and without being watered down by legal loopholes.
This is the one core change that could transform renting overnight. But it's part of a package of measures that we think could make renting in Hackney better.
Renters need a stable home too. We want to see:
- an end to Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions
- longer tenancies - of up to five years, giving stability for families and those on fixed incomes, and helping tackle the high number of evictions
- a ban 'no tenants on benefits' adverts - landlords who advertise that these should be prosecuted
- landlord fines passed to councils - so they help the victims of bad landlords and invest in improving services to the private rented sector
Private rents in Hackney are unaffordable for so many people. We want to see:
- rent caps - linking rent increases to the rate of inflation and real changes in incomes, helping renters tenants avoid large and unpredictable hikes
- no more letting fees and a limit on deposits of not more than three weeks rent - the government should stop fees charges as soon as possible and close loopholes that could allow letting agents to still charge excessive fees
- fairer benefits - re-establish the link between housing benefit paid and market rents, so that those in receipt of benefits have a fair chance of finding a home
The renting industry needs to be better regulated to help Councils tackle rogue landlords. We want to see:
- a full register of landlords and properties - which should be publicly available to all renters
- fast-tracked licensing schemes - giving Councils rather than central government the power to decide what's needed locally
- a 'fit and proper' landlord regime - using the disclosure and barring service to identify and stop unfit landlords renting out homes
We want to support good landlords to ensure they understand their legal responsibilities. We want to see:
- landlord accreditation - with full statutory backing
- incentives for good landlords - for offering longer tenancies or stable rents, such as getting housing benefit paid directly to them