New responsible estate agent and landlord controls set for Islington

Cllr James Murray: "Agency will offer a better deal for private tenants"

Cllr James Murray: "Agency will offer a better deal for private tenants" - Credit: Archant

A new responsible estate agent run to give people on low incomes a helping hand has been announced by the town hall.

Islington Council’s ruling executive last night gave the green light for a Social Lettings Agency (SLA) to be se up in the spring.

The initiative, which will charge no fees and guarantee standards, is designed to help with less cash the chance to get a into Islington’s notoriously expensive private rentals market without having to accept poor quality homes.

And in what is thought to be a first in the country, the council will offer landlords guaranteed rents in exchange for them bringing prices down, to make them affordable for people hit by housing benefit caps.

At the same meeting, a consultation was launched to get opinions on a plan for extra landlord controls along Holloway Road, Holloway and Caledonian Road, Islington.

The measure would protect an estimated 3,500 tenants living in homes along the entire length of Holloway Road and Caledonian Road, which are hot spots for poor quality housing, including dirty communal areas, mice infestations, and “box rooms”.

Last month the council banned 19 tiny flats in a former hostel in Holloway Road from being rented out - the investigation was sparked by infamous ‘shoebox’ apartment in Kember Street, Islington.Landlords who fail to license risk fines up to £20,000, and having to repay up to 12 months’ rent.Cllr James Murray, Islington’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 get decent homes that they can afford.“Our proposal for extra landlord licensing comes after widespread evidence of poor management, including serious issues around electrical safety, fire alarms and landlords letting out tiny ‘shoebox’ flats.“Alongside this, our new council-run lettings agency will offer a better deal for private tenants. There will be no fees for tenants and a management service from the council. “We’ll also be using our position to effectively control rents in part of the private rented sector, so that they’re affordable to people who would otherwise be unable to stay in Islington because of the government’s benefit caps.”Any private rental tenants with any issues or concerns can now call a new hotline: 020 7527 3001.