The private rented sector (PRS) in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has grown rapidly in the last 10 years and accounts for approximately 27,500 properties; a third of the borough’s housing. Due to high demand and competition from tenants to find accommodation that is in short supply, the council believes there is little incentive for poor landlords to maintain minimum safe housing standards. LBHF believe that parts of the PRS are badly managed and the quality of some rented accommodation is poor and in a few cases unsafe. An estimated 44% of all unfit dwellings were privately rented.
LBHF wanted to improve the standard, safety and conditions for residents in the private rented sector in the borough and address issues around anti-social behaviour, but do this in a way that benefits both tenants and landlords. The Council therefore were considering 5 options to help improve housing and conditions within the private rented sector in the borough.
LBHF appointed M·E·L Research to undertake a public consultation to determine the levels of support for the council’s proposals (5 in total). The consultation took place over 12 weeks from July to September 2016. The consultation was undertaken using a range of methods including a borough-wide residents consultation, a consultation with HMO tenants, an online consultation which was promoted widely through newspaper adverts, the council website, mailshots and e-shots, an online consultation with neighbouring boroughs, a landlords forum and qualitative interviews with wider stakeholders.
The consultation found that the proposals were generally supported by respondents and the findings of the consultation were used to support the recommendations which were taken to Cabinet in December 2016. LBHF has since agreed to all five proposals ,which will result in the followng being introduced: