House proud: students deliver petition to the Town Hall earlier this year. Photograph: CitizensUK

Social justice alliance Citizens UK has welcomed Hackney Council’s plans to introduce “essential” licensing measures for landlords.

Cllr Sem Moema, Mayor Glanville’s adviser on private renting, yesterday launched a consultation on new powers designed to protect the borough’s tenants from living in “appalling conditions”.

Under the plans, landlords in Stoke Newington and Clapton – where the council says 20 per cent of tenants face problems like dangerous boilers, exposed wiring or vermin infestations – would require a licence from the Town Hall to ensure their properties are “safe, secure and well-maintained”.

Citizens UK organiser Caitlin Burbridge welcomed the move: “This is something we have been campaigning for in Hackney for the past year. The proposals, once enacted, will provide Hackney Council with the powers it needs not only to bring rogue landlords to book but also to insist on landlords meeting standards that sadly many privately rented properties in the borough do not meet.”

In May, members of the group, including pupils from Cardinal Pole Catholic School, delivered a petition calling for a licensing scheme to the Town Hall.

Burbridge added: “Citizens UK Hackney would like to thank Cllr Moema and her team for driving these essential proposals forward with such commitment.

“Other London boroughs have found it of great benefit to have similar enhanced powers of enforcement and, if necessary, prosecution, to deal with the worst offenders.

“The move will undoubtedly drive up standards in the private rented sector on which so many people and families have to rely for a roof over their heads.”

The Town Hall’s proposals also include a licensing scheme for landlords letting Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – homes with two or more households and shared facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms and toilets – anywhere in the borough.

Cllr Sem Moema (left) talks to a renter in Dalston. Photograph: Hackney Council

Cllr Moema urged residents to help shape the proposals, saying: “One in three homes in Hackney is privately rented, and too many renters face a raw deal of spiralling rents and a poor service from a minority of rogue landlords.

“Our research has exposed that in some parts of our borough, tenants face appalling conditions that put their safety at risk despite paying an average of £1,820 a month in rent for a standard two-bedroom home.

“This is simply unacceptable. We believe that introducing these licensing measures will give us the powers we need to tackle landlords who exploit renters and make sure their homes are safe, secure and well-maintained.

“But crucially, we want as many renters, landlords and residents who experience these issues first hand to respond to this consultation and give their views on our proposals.”

To have your say before the consultation closes in early December, please visit the council’s website here

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