Council gets tough on letting agents

Newham Council has claimed to be the first local authority in the country to tackle letting agents who are flouting the law.

An initiative by the council to tackle poor practice by lettings agents and protect tenants has helped to improve standards in the profession with the majority of agents now complying with the law.

Having started last November, the council’s Fair Lettings Project has already driven four letting agents out of business, prosecuted two and plans to take another five to court over failure to protect consumers. The council issued 113 notices for corrective actions in total, and most letting agents are now either fully or broadly compliant with current consumer protection and housing legislation.

As home to one of the highest populations of private renters in the country, Newham has been at the forefront of efforts to stamp out bad practice in a sector that is a breeding ground for exploitation. It is cheering to see criminal letting agents removed from the local housing market, which will force up standards among the businesses that remain. Let’s hope its success inspires more local authorities to adopt a similar approach. 

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