Community Housing Inspectors take to Haringey’s streets

Fundamental necessities like food and water are subject to strict regulation and inspection to make sure they’re safe and don’t damage people’s health. So why isn’t housing?

Sick of being ripped-off with sky high rents and poor quality housing, activists in Haringey took matters into their own hands, and organised a community housing inspection of local letting agents, drawing attention to high rents, short-term tenancies, discrimination against housing benefit claimants and high administration fees.

Haringey Community Housing Inspectors out in force

On Saturday, a team of around 20 ‘Community Housing Inspectors’ headed along Green Lanes to investigate letting agency policies. Of the agencies visited, four agreed to take part, while Winkworths, Kings Group, Bairstow Eves, Brian Thomas and Anthony Pepe all denied access or refused to speak to the self styled inspectors.

The protest took place against a backdrop of housing benefit cuts, a lack of Haringey letting agents willing to accept tenants on housing benefit, rent inflation outstripping wage inflation, and a concern that landlord and letting agent practices are leading to a significant change in the local demographic. Haringey Housing Action Group has committed to support any tenants facing eviction because they cannot pay their rent.

The protest was a success. As a member of the group said “We managed to gather information that will be of help to prospective tenants in the borough (the results will be publicly available), and we put across our demands to the letting agent staff, as well as to hundreds of passersby, many of whom told us of their own bad experiences of local letting agents. We also shut down a handful of letting agents, possibly the ones who felt they had more to hide. And we turned the tables on the letting agents who carry out checks on our homes without permission.”

Letting agents beware – this won’t be the last you hear of angry tenants.

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4 Responses to Community Housing Inspectors take to Haringey’s streets

  1. Well said,I will appreciate that let agents to beware.
    Current law requires Boston landlords to arrange for a city housing inspection each time a rental unit turns over. The owners almost never comply. And why would they? It’s a poorly conceived, unenforceable ordinance that flies in the face of human nature.

  2. Anon says:

    So why don’t you turn tables then? Can you hunt down tenants who have trashed my properties??? If you care about quality of housing. Then surely, you need to play fair?

  3. This article is about letting agents. If you’re a landlord who has had your property damaged, you’re in the wrong place. However, there are three major landlord representative bodies who I’m sure will be happy to take a membership fee from you.

  4. Common Sense says:

    Your group turns up as a vigilante mob outside letting agents and scaring the staff. The guy in the letting agent looks like a scared rabbit. Thats not nice…… If a Landlord turned up with the Boyz for non-payment of rent…. do you think this is right way to go about things??

    Why is it you think I am in the wrong place? Why do you call yourself “Community Housing Inspectors’”. Why don’t you inspect properties trashed by tenants?. This is housing in your neighbourhood that is getting trashed.

    You say “Sick of being ripped-off with sky high rents and poor quality housing”.

    I agree.

    You don’t have the whole picture on housing. Poor quality housing is created by tenants trashing and/or not looking after properties (yes, I will accept some landlord may not fullfill their legal obligations). There are issues on both sides. Tell me how many tenants have been fined or sent to jail for trashing property?

    Just read this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2026152/Darlington-landlord-Glenn-Schofield-battles-evict-nightmare-tenants-6-months.html

    Even in the most extreme cases, tenants will get away with it….

    Some Landlords would be reluctant to do too much repair after having bad experiences, as they don’t want to get burned again. Landlords have lost confidence in the system.

    IN my case, I gave a nice NEWLY refurbished property. YOu would think that good housing means tenants would respect the property, but THEY DONT!!! That is the crazy thing!. I am not alone, there many other Landlords who have had this happen to them.

    It is more stressful, to have a refurbished property on your hands, as it is difficult task to find good tenants. If a tenant decides to trash an older property, then landords are not going to mind so much.

    You don’t seem to accept tenant wrecking properties is happening in the rental market.

    Some tenants, who have trashed property, will never admit it and will even lie and say the Landlord gave the property like that!! This is why Environment Health Officers have to be cautious to judge.

    In the video, they complained Landlords don’t want to take tenants on Housing Benefit. There are 3 problems. HB stop rents when ever they want. HB tenants, under LHA, tenants don’t pass the rents to landlords. The third reason, is people on housing benefit, abuse the system, they trash the properties. They wait until the landlord is fed up and is evicting them. These tenants then go to the Council, and say I am homeless and they then jump the housing queue for social housing.

    So, yes I am in the campaign against high rents and poor quality housing.

    I want to give the best to my tenants, but I can’t do my job, it bad tenants trash properties pushing up costs for the “good” tenants.

    You can’t see the connection between tenants trashing properties and poor quality housing.

    When a property is trashed, landlords loose confidence. Some Landlords distrust tenants. Some won’t spend too much money, because tenants will trash again. This is rather sad.

    Your high rents are paying for the the bad tenants in the market place.

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