London sees huge increase in letting agent and landlord fines

Property Reporter
5th August 2021

Enforcement is on the rise across the capital with new research showing a 532% increase in the size of fines over two months in Greater London.

The analysis of the Mayor of London’s Rogue Landlord and Letting Agent Checker from geospatial technology firm, Kamma, highlights a dramatic increase in enforcement activity with total fines hitting £139,146 by the middle of July, more than doubling June’s midpoint figure of £42,500 and a dramatic increase of fines in May that totalled £22,000. Tracking over the three month period shows a combined increase of 532%.

These dramatic increases in fine activity bring total fines to £6.5 million since RLAC was first set up in 2018. Analysis of this data shows that both landlords and agents are at risk with landlords fined more often and agents fined more heavily. The largest single fines ever recorded are £100,000 (for a landlord) and £167,000 (for a letting agent) respectively.

Councils have been under pressure throughout the pandemic with budgets under strain and housing conditions under the spotlight. Whilst the work of Housing Officers has been impacted by lockdown rules and regulations, this data shows a dramatic return to enforcement practices.

Orla Shields, Kamma CEO, explained: “Whilst the pandemic seems to have reduced enforcement levels, it did not slow the level of regulation which is higher now than at any time before. With a complex web of regulations now governing the sector and growing levels of enforcement, it is business-critical that both agents and their landlords stay on top of compliance requirements”.

Councils are also deploying tenants to support enforcement in a low-cost way by deploying a checker search tool, as well as through Rent Repayment Orders. Tower Hamlets Council has issued almost 70 RROs with the total amount of reclaimed rent at £200,000. With other local authorities following suit it’s more important than ever that agents get up to speed.

Orla concludes: “As the NRLA has recently pointed out, it’s right that councils enforce their own regulations, which otherwise would be a tax on good landlords, with rogue individuals continuing as before. The danger is that good landlords and letting agents offering high-quality homes to market could still get caught out by a change in regulation. With tenants acting as enforcers, agents and landlords have to stay one step ahead.”

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