How many private renters are there in Haringey?
In 2015, the Office for National Statistics found 78,500 private renters in Haringey– that’s nearly a third of the total population. The current figure is probably higher, considering how much the housing crisis has deepened since then. So there should be plenty of private renters to campaign with – you could start with Haringey Housing Action Group.
If renting is so bad, why don’t private renters just buy a house?
Because in Haringey, the average home costs 15.29 times the average income. Housing prices have increased, particularly rapidly, in this borough over the last several years
Why can’t they get a council house then?
Because there are currently 8,290 households waiting for a council home in the borough.
Looks like we’re stuck in the private rented sector then. What’s it going to cost?
Monthly median average rents for Haringey, recorded by the Valuation Office Agency, are below. Remember, these figures don’t include fuel or council tax bills:
Room in a shared house: £625
Studio flat: £862
One bedroom flat: £1,235
Two-bedroom flat: £1, 495
Three-bedroom flat: £1,879
House with four or more bedrooms: £2,500
That’s a lot. I guess that means a lot of private renters have to claim housing benefit to stay alive then?
Yes – 13,065 in Haringey claim 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). The monthly LHA in Haringey depends on which part of the borough you live in, and the two different rates are:
Inner North London (e.g. Hornsey)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £638.26
One Bedroom Rate: £1280.45
Two Bedrooms Rate: £1585.65
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1914.73
Four Bedrooms Rate: £2572.92
Outer North London (e.g. Wood Green)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £490.14
One Bedroom Rate: £1067.04
Two Bedrooms Rate: £1296.45
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1595.62
Four Bedrooms Rate: £1894.79
Can I talk to someone at the council about problems with my private landlord?
Yes. Haringey runs a housing advice service, here or on 020 8489 1000. Haringey doesn’t have a specific team for private renters; the housing advice service is for all types of housing.
Haringey council supports the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme (recently renamed the London Rental Standard). Unfortunately, this is only a voluntary scheme, so most landlords don’t sign up to it. Those that do sign up don’t face very many checks – and besides, private renters are rarely in a position to choose between an accredited landlord and a non-accredited one.
Do private landlords in Haringey have to get a licence?
All houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Haringey must be licensed by the council. HMOs are houses or flats which are home to three or more people who are not all members of the same family.
To ensure that many more rental properties meet at least basic, legal standards, Haringey Council would like to extend property licensing. The proposed selective licensing scheme would cover all privately rented homes in Bounds Green, Bruce Grove, Harringay, Hornsey, Noel Park, Northumberland Park, Seven Sisters, St Ann’s, Stroud Green, Tottenham Hale, Tottenham Green, West Green, White Hart Lane and Woodside Wards (but not Alexandra, Crouch End, Fortis Green, Muswell Hill or Highgate Wards, in the West of the borough).
The inspection and enforcement regime in place is key to the efficacy of any licensing scheme but this proposal looks like a good start on driving up standards in Haringey. Final approval for a scheme of this size has to come from Michael Gove, currently the Secretary of State for The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. If approved, the scheme should be introduced in 2022.
Does Haringey Council run a non-profit letting agency for private renters?
Some councils are starting to run non-profit letting agencies for private renters, to help private renters avoid the extortionate fees and bad practices of high street letting agents. Haringey Council has now followed suit and runs its own Home Finder Scheme, although this is mainly for those most at risk of homelessness or those in vulnerable positions. To find out if you may qualify for the scheme and to read more, click here.
Does Haringey Council give cash incentives to private landlords just to behave decently?
Unfortunately, yes. The council gives private landlords cash incentives of around £3,000 just to behave decently – when they should be doing that anyway!
Is there a stand alone PRS strategy as part of Haringey Council’s Housing Strategy?
The PRS is mentioned in Haringey council’s housing strategy 2017-22, yes, and the council’s plan to improve life for private renters includes working with landlords to make sure their properties are up to standard. The council also wants to see an improvement in energy efficiency in private rented homes.
There are also plans to increase the amount of purpose built, affordable private rented homes.
Does Haringey Council have a Private Rented Sector (PRS) forum, where private renters can discuss ways to make private renting better?
Unfortunately, Haringey Council only consults landlords at a regular forum – not renters. Perhaps local campaigners for better renting should tell the council what’s going on in their local PRS – from a renter’s point of view.
Not many people know that councils have the power to prosecute private landlords who break the law. Unfortunately, in the current system it takes lots of time and money to do this using the criminal courts, so some councils don’t do it. Licensing would allow councils to use civil rather than criminal courts, which would make it easier to hold bad landlords to account.
Does the council tell the public about these prosecutions?
Yes, some of them. And of course, Haringey participates in the Mayor of London’s Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker.
Every council is divided between Councillors, who are elected politicians, and non-political officers, who are appointed to do a particular job. In Haringey, these people might be useful to talk to: