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Councils push scheme to catch agents running unlicensed properties

London's boroughs are encouraging tenants to check their property is licenced and then using RROs to fine letting agencies and landlords.

Nigel Lewis

rent repayment orders

Letting agents face a new dangers in London as more councils in the capital rely increasingly on Rent Repayment Orders (RROs) to police the PRS, with a 532% increase in their use during the past three months.

Regtech firm Kamma says fines totalling £139,146 were handed out in July, more than doubling June’s figure of £42,500 and up on May’s figure of £22,000, reports

The firm’s analysis of the Mayor of London’s Rogue Landlord and Letting Agent Checker reveals £6.5 million in fines have been handed out since it was set up in 2018.

Both agents and landlords are at risk. Agents are fined more heavily, Kamma’s analysis shows; the largest single fines ever recorded are £100,000 for a landlord and £167,000 for a letting agent.

Despite housing officers’ work being impacted by lockdown rules and regulations, this data reveals a dramatic return to enforcement practices”, says Kamma CEO Orla Shields, who adds that councils are encouraging tenants to support enforcement via the checker search tool.

Rent repayment orders

“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,” she says.

Tower Hamlets Council has issued almost 70 RROs, reclaiming £200,000 in rent, and with other local authorities following suit it’s more important than ever that agents get up to speed, advises Kamma.

rent repayment orders“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,” adds Shields (pictured).

“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.”

 

 

August 5, 2021

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