Private renting

More than one in 3 people in Hackney live in a privately rented home.

That’s around 34,000 households reliant on an industry that has experienced rocketing rents, that has lacked the proper regulation to prevent poor conditions and mistreatment of tenants, and that has failed to provide many families with the security of a good, safe and affordable place to live.

Renters are at the front end of Hackney’s housing crisis, facing a waiting list of more than 13,000 for social housing and house prices that have increased more than in any other borough in recent decades.

So while Hackney is building thousands of genuinely affordable Council homes for local people despite a lack of government funding, renting for many remains the only option. That’s why we’re committed to creating a fairer, better system to support them.

From campaigning on the issues that matter to you to enforcing against rogue landlords who mistreat their tenants, we’re committed to doing what we can to support Hackney’s  private renters.

Report a problem

We’re responsible for ensuring that people living in privately rented accommodation in Hackney have a safe and healthy home.

If you’re concerned about the condition of your home or treatment from a landlord we can investigate and – where appropriate – take action.

The types of issues we may be able to help with include:

  • minimum standards for privately rented homes
  • disrepair
  • drainage and sewerage defects
  • pest control
  • disconnection of gas or electricity by your landlord
  • fire, gas and electrical safety
  • sharing amenities

Contact the private sector housing team on 020 8356 4866 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 4pm) or

Advice and support

As a private renter, it’s important to know the rights and responsibilities both parties have. Our guide below contains useful information about what to consider when renting privately and advice about what to do if things go wrong. 

The Government and Shelter also provide a range of advice and support for renters.

Take action

We’ve implemented new powers against landlords and agents who fail to comply with instructions to make improvements, including on-the-spot fines of up to £30,000 and Rent Repayment Orders which allow tenants to claim back rent. The worst offenders can even face criminal prosecution.

Tenants can make a Rent Repayment Order for up to 12 months’ rent from their landlord in the following situations:

  • your landlord has not applied for a property licence
  • your landlord has not complied with an Improvement Notice served by the council
  • your landlord has not complied with a Prohibition Order served by the council
  • your landlord has used violence to gain entry to your property
  • your landlord has illegally evicted you or harassed you in your property
  • your landlord has breached a banning order

You are strongly advised to get help to apply for a rent repayment order.

Living rent homes

In 2018 we approved plans to provide new homes at a living rent, which could see eligible renters save nearly £10,000 a year on the average two-bedroom flat and help them to build up a deposit to buy their first home.

This is a new type of genuinely affordable housing for people on middle incomes that wouldn’t normally qualify for social housing, aimed at private renters who are struggling to save for a deposit and want to build up savings to buy a home.

Rents are calculated based on a third of average local incomes, meaning they will be lower than the market rent a private landlord would charge.

For more information, contact Hackney Sales.

Avoiding homelessness

Homelessness is rising in Hackney, and families having to leave private rented homes with nowhere else to go is one of the leading causes of this.

If you’re at risk of homelessness, we can outline the help and support available to you and advise you on your housing options – including whether you might be eligible for emergency temporary accommodation.

If you’re worried about being illegally evicted, please see illegal evictions.

Page updated on: 8 June 2020

Private Sector Housing


2 Hillman Street
E8 1FB

Opening times

  • Mon to Fri, 9am - 4pm