How many private renters are there in Hammersmith and Fulham?
In 2015, the Office for National Statistics found 56,000 private renters in Hammersmith and Fulham. that’s nearly a third of people living in the borough. The current figure is probably higher.
If renting is so bad, why don’t private renters just buy a house?
Because in Hammersmith and Fulham the average home costs 19.32 times the average income. This puts home ownership extraordinarily out of reach for ordinary people
Why can’t they get a council house then?
The borough has very strict criteria which you need to meet in order to be accepted onto the waiting list for a council house. This means that for most ordinary working people the only realistic housing option is to rent privately
Looks like we’re stuck in the private rented sector then. What’s it going to cost?
Monthly median average rents in Hammersmith and Fulham, recorded by the Valuation Office Agency, are below. Remember, these figures don’t include fuel or council tax bills:
Room in a shared house: £750
Studio flat: £950
One-bedroom flat: £1,383
Two-bedroom flat: £1,798
Three-bedroom flat: £2,545
House with four or more bedrooms: £3,683
That’s a lot. I guess that means a lot of private renters have to claim housing benefit to live then?
Yes – more than 3,500 private renters in Hammersmith and Fulham need housing benefit to help pay 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). The monthly LHA in Hammersmith and Fulham depends where you live in the borough and is as follows:
Central London (e.g. some areas on the eastern border of the borough)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £609.35
One Bedroom Rate: £1,129.44
Two Bedrooms Rate: £1,310.10
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1,536
Four Bedrooms Rate: £1,807
Inner West London (e.g. Shepherd’s Bush, Hammersmith)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £479
One Bedroom Rate: £1,053.78
Two Bedrooms Rate: £1,310.10
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1,536
Four Bedrooms Rate: £1,807.09
Last year, Hammermsith and Fulham counil consulted the public on ways to improve private renting in the borough. They asked for thoughts on five different proposed improvements and these were met with an overall positive response. As a result, the following measures are to be introduced
- New standards for licensed rental properties to ensure tenants are safe, and problems to neighbours, such as rubbish, are better managed (in effect from January 2017)
- Additional and selective licensing, which came into effect on June 5th
- A new landlords’ rental charter to encourage landlords to commit to best practice in management, housing standards, living rent, and security of tenancies
- A new social lettings agency to put potential renters in touch with the best local landlords who meet all the higher standards expected
Can I talk to someone at the council about problems with my private landlord?
Yes, you are recommended to call 02087531081 and ask to speak to private housing.
Are there any Tenancy Relations Officers (TROs)?
At the private housing team there are staff who can give you specialist advice, and listen to any problems, or concerns, you may have with your private accommodation/landlord.
Do private landlords in Hammersmith and Fulham have to get a licence?
Yes, beyond the compulsory HMO licensing, Hammersmith and Fulham council has also introduced additional and selective licensing schemes as mentioned above.
Does Hammersmith and Fulham Council run a non-profit letting agency for private renters?
Hammersmith and Fulham Council is involved in West London Let Starts– a partnership of seven West London local authorities which is free for anyone looking for a home. The agency provides prospective tenants with a checklist for viewings so they can make sure that the property they are interested in has a good chance of being a long term home.
Is there a stand-alone PRS strategy in the council’s housing policy?
Yes, Hammersmith and Fulham Council recognises the growth of the private rented sector and the need to tackle rogue landlords. It even proposes the strategy of raising council tax on empty properties as this is a waste of a home. Some of these issues, however, have already been addressed by the new measures mentioned above. You can read the full document here (PRS issues are discussed on pages 30-31).
The council has obviously listened to private tenants recently and it’s worked, leading to improvements in the sector for renters. However, unfortunately there is still no private renters forum, only one for landlords. Maybe you should email them and ask for one!
How many criminal/rogue landlords have been prosecuted by Hammersmith and Fulham Council?
We are still waiting on an up to date figure from the council, but we do know that 8 landlords were prosecuted between 2011 and 2014.
Who else can I speak to about making private renting fairer in Hammersmith and Fulham?
Every council is divided between Councillors, who are elected politicians, and non-political officers, who are appointed to do a particular job. In Hammersmith and Fulham, these people might be useful to talk to:
Councillor Alan De’Ath is responsible for housing. He does many drop in surgeries which are detailed here along with his contact details http://democracy.lbhf.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=1289
Similarly Councillor Larry Culhane is responsible for Community Safety, Environment and Residents Services Policy and is the Accountability Committee Chair.
Bus. phone: 020 8753 2018
It may also be a good idea to put pressure on Charlie Dewhirst, who is the opposition spokesperson for residents services.
Bus. phone: 020 8753 2022