How many of us are there?
In 2015, the Office for National Statistics found 63,800 private renters in Brent. that’s nearly a third of people living in the borough. The current figure is probably higher. When it comes to finding other renters to join forces with, you’re in luck: Brent has an active Renters’ Rights Brent project, as well as its own advice agency dedicated to private renters, Advice4Renters.
If renting is so bad, why don’t private renters just buy a house?
Because in Brent the average home costs 15.25 times the average income. This puts home ownership beyond the reach of ordinary people.
Why can’t they get a council house then?
Because there are currently 3, 630 households on the waiting list for a council house in the borough.
Looks like we’re stuck in the private rented sector then. What’s it going to cost?
Monthly median average rents in Brent, recorded by the Valuation Office Agency, are below. Remember, these figures don’t include fuel or council tax bills:
Room in a shared house: £650
Studio flat: £950
Two-bedroom flat: £1,500
Three-bedroom flat: £1,820
House with four or more bedrooms: £2,401
That’s a lot. I guess that means a lot of private renters have to claim housing benefit to live then?
Yes – more than 17,000 private renters in Brent need housing benefit to cover their rent.
And does housing benefit cover it?
No. The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the maximum amount of housing benefit you can get, regardless of whether you’re a private renter (renting from a private landlord) or a social renter (renting from the council or a housing association). At the start of 2021, the monthly LHA in Brent is:
Room in a shared house: £638.26 (Inner North London) or £623.31 (Inner West London)
One-bedroom flat: £1280.45 (Inner North London) or £1204.71 (Inner West London)
Two-bedroom flat: £1585.65 (Inner North London)or £1470.95 (Inner West London)
Three-bedroom: £1914.73 (Inner North London) or £1,914.73 (Inner West London)
House with four or more bedrooms: £2572.92 (Inner North London) or £2,313.65 (Inner West London)
How many privately rented homes in the borough are overcrowded?
The 2011 Census found 18% of private rented households in the borough were overcrowded.
Can I talk to the council about problems with my private landlord?
If you have problems with your landlord such as disrepair or general disputes, Brent Council offers help and advice on 020 8937 2000.
If you receive a Section 21 notice (no-fault eviction), Brent Council recommends you consult The Tenants Voice to see if your notice is valid.
Always seek legal advice if you receive a notice seeking possession or an eviction notice.
Are there any Tenancy Relations Officers?
Not really, but the Private Housing Team can assist with enforcement with disrepair cases where the landlord is not being compliant. You can reach them on 020 8937 2000
Does Brent require landlords to be licensed?
All houses in multiple occupation in Brent should be licensed by the council.
In 2018, Brent introduced Additional Licensing to Dudden Hill, Kensal Green, Kilburn, Mapesbury and Queens Park electoral Wards. If you live there, whether it’s shared or self-contained, a flat or a house, your home should be licensed by the council.
In 2019, Brent Council wished to extend licensing into other parts of the borough, to help ensure minimum standards in the homes of more residents. But so doing required permission from national government. The Secretary of State (Rt Hon Robert Jenrick) refused permission for an expanded property licensing regime. Brent Council is now working with government to find out what more evidence might be needed to make the case for property licensing. In the meantime, Brent Council promises to continue to work to improve the safety and quality of privately rented homes in the borough.
Does Barnet council run a non-profit letting agency for private renters?
Yes, The Direct Lettings (DL) scheme is a free service where the council introduces private sector landlords to tenants.
Does Brent council have a Private Rented Sector (PRS) forum, where private renters can discuss ways to make private renting better?
No, but you can get involved in Renters’ Rights Brent!
How many prosecutions have been made against criminal landlords by Brent Council?
The council has a zero-tolerance policy towards unlicensed properties and nearly 100 landlords and agents have been prosecuted in the past 18 months. Brent’s enforcement team raids around 12 unlicensed properties a week. A landlord without a licence could face a criminal prosecution and unlimited fines.
If you suspect someone is renting out unlicensed property in Brent, you are encouraged to report them anonymously here
Who else should I talk to about making private renting fairer in Brent?
Every council is divided between Councillors, who are elected politicians, and non-political officers, who are appointed to do a particular job.
In Brent, these people might be useful to talk to: