Croydon’s Labour Council reaffirmed its commitment to supporting renters earlier this month when the Cabinet agreed to launch a new Private Landlord Licensing Scheme. The implementation of the new scheme is subject to government approval.
Labour first introduced Landlord Licensing in Croydon in 2015, and there are currently 38,000 privately rented homes registered in the borough. The purpose of the scheme is to drive up housing quality and safety for renters.
Around a third of all homes in Croydon are now in the Private Rented Sector, which has seen dramatic growth over the last twenty years, doubling in size to 36% of all households.
Too many families and individuals in the private rented sector live in poor quality housing, suffering problems including overcrowding and poor heating. Worse, research shows that 23% of all private rented homes have a ‘category 1’ hazard, which are serious enough in the threat they pose to residents’ safety for the Council to take enforcement action.
Following the dreadful fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, Croydon Council inspectors have carried out more fire safety checks as part of their inspections and found many homes didn’t meet the minimum safety standard.
Croydon has 55 tall residential buildings (over 6 storeys), with over 6000 tenants, and these have been the focus of Council’s inspections. Inspectors found that over 2800 applications by landlords had no fire precaution at the time of the check, which the Landlords were then obliged to put right. Without the licensing scheme, these inspections would not have taken place, and 2800 tenants would have lived in homes without proper fire safety measures.
Unlicensed homes are a danger to their tenants, as was seen in Thornton Heath, where a young boy tragically died in a fire last year. London Fire Brigade reported that neither of the two smoke alarms worked in the unregistered house.
As the result of 12,000 inspections by council officers, the Council has banned over 70 landlords from renting out homes in Croydon due to their ongoing failure to meet the minimum standards.
If approved, Croydon Council’s new Licensing Scheme will take effect next February.