LETTER: Boston should follow Newham’s lead and send a signal to rogue landlords

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Boston’s Labour councillors read with envy recently that Newham council has received licence applications from 30,000 private landlords as part of its pioneering scheme to improve housing conditions in the borough.

Since January 1 this year, the council has carried out 750 enforcement visits, issued 1,200 warning letters, and handed out 50 cautions. Thirty prosecutions have been pursued since the scheme started. Private landlords who have failed to apply are committing an offence – and could face fines of up to £20,000 per property.

Newham is the first council in the country to implement a scheme to licence all private rented properties.

The council has consulted extensively – 74 per cent of residents and 76 per cent of private tenants supported the borough-wide licensing scheme.

The radical move came after the borough announced the creation of a task force to combat ‘sheds with beds’, illegal ramshackle buildings built at the bottom of gardens which often house tenants living in appalling squalor, exploited by rogue landlords.

The scheme is backed by national housing charity Shelter.

Boston Labour councillors are delighted to hear that Newham council is introducing this scheme, which will help protect vulnerable tenants from rogue landlords who are making their tenants’ lives hell.

We urge our council to follow Newham’s lead in sending a clear signal that enforcing the law against rogue landlords is a priority.We strongly believe that this kind of proactive approach should be adopted in Boston as soon as possible.

Boston Labour councillors