Crackdown on Islington’s ‘mouse-infested shoebox homes’

Cllr James Murray: 'Concerned

Cllr James Murray: 'Concerned - Credit: Archant

New rules to stop unscrupulous landlords forcing tenants to live in tiny, mice-infested homes have been passed by the town hall.

On Thursday, Islington Council’s ruling executive nodded through new licensing restrictions designed to protect the 3,500 people living in shared homes along Holloway Road and Caledonian Road.

The council says there are high rates of poor property management along the two roads including faulty fire alarms, poor electrics and mice-infestations.

But from September 1, when the new scheme is enforced, landlords in the area can be fined up to £20,000, be forced to pay back 12 months rent to tenants and have to apply for a special Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “More and more people in Islington are renting privately, and we want to help make sure they have decent homes to live in.

“We’ve been very concerned about poor management in Holloway Road and Caledonian Road, and our investigation of shared properties along those two streets found widespread problems ranging from faulty fire alarms to tiny ‘shoebox’ rooms being rented out.

“On the back of the evidence we found, we’re now introducing this licensing scheme to make sure landlords are providing tenants with decent homes.”

The town hall’s investigation substandard was sparked by the notorious ‘shoebox’ apartment in Kember Street, Islington.

Several HMOs where surveyed in Holloway Road and Caledonian Road last year and a third – 141 out of 208 – had problems, including badly maintained communal areas, gas safety certificates not being issued to tenants and undersized box rooms being let.

Any private renters with concerns about their homes can call the council’s dedicated hotline on 020 7527 3001.