How many private renters are there in Harrow?
In 2015, the Office for National Statistics found 73,00 private renters in Harrow. That’s nearly three times as many private renters than council tenants! The current figure is probably higher.
If renting is so bad, why don’t private renters just buy a house?
Because in Harrow, the average home costs 13.4 times the average income.
Why don’t they ask to be housed by the council?
Because, as in every other London borough, there is a major shortage of council housing stock in Harrow
Looks like we’re stuck in the private rented sector, then. What’s it going to cost?
Monthly average rents for Harrow recorded by the Valuation Office Agency, are below. Remember, these figures don’t include fuel or council tax bills:
Room in a shared house: £513
Studio flat: £795
One bedroom flat: £1,000
Two-bedroom flat: £1,295
Three-bedroom flat: £1,600
House with four or more bedrooms: £2,925
That’s a lot. I guess that means a lot of private renters have to claim housing benefit to stay alive then?
Yes – 9,601 private renters in Harrow claim housing benefit to help 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 Harrow depends on which part of the borough you live in. In 2017, the rates are:
Shared Accommodation Rate: £378.73
One Bedroom Rate: £829.31
Two Bedrooms Rate: £1,050.10
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1,313
Four Bedrooms Rate: £1,622.40
Can I talk to someone at the council about problems with my private landlord, and are there any Tenancy Relations Officers (TROs)?
Harrow Council has a Private Sector Housing Enforcement Team who inspect the quality of prviately rented accommodation to prevent disrepair, poor conditions and overcrowding. The team educates landlords about their responsibilities. If necessary, they will use their enforcement powers to serve legal notices on criminal landlords.
If you have a problem with the conditions of your accommodation, contact Harrow Private Sector Housing Enforcement Team via email or telephone 020 8901 2600
Do private landlords in Harrow have to get a licence?
Selective licensing applies in Wealdstone and Edgware wards. Here, all rented properties of any size must be licensed. Harrow Council also operates a borough-wide, additional licensing scheme for any homes occupied by four or more people, forming two or more households.
Does Harrow council run a non-profit letting agency for private renters?
Yes, it’s called Smart Lettings and tries to secure a fairer, better and more transparent service, with great deals for both landlords and tenants. The benefits for tenants are safe and comfortable homes, in good repair with ‘fair’ charges. You can see the properties and more information on their website.
Then, Harrow Council’s letting agency Help2Let is run mainly for residents at risk of homelessness.
Is there a stand alone PRS strategy in Harrow Council’s housing policy?
Somewhat, Harrow Council’s housing strategy includes plans for private rented housing. You can read about this here
What is Harrow Council doing to make private renting fairer?
In 2018, Harrow Labour included the pledge to create a Private Renters’ Charter in their election manifesto.
Now, we’re looking forward to helping make the pledge a reality. If you rent in Harrow, Renters’ Rights London is keen to hear from you so please get in touch.
How many prosecutions for criminal landlords have been made by Harrow Council?
We are currently waiting for an up to date figure on criminal landlord prosecutions by the council, but we do know that only 2 landlords were prosecuted by the council between 2011 and 2014.
Who else should I talk to about making private renting fairer in Harrow?
Councillors, who are elected politicians, and some officers, who are appointed to do a particular job, have responsibilities to private renters. Depending on the nature of your problem, you could contact
Councillor Phillip O’Dell
Housing Portfolio Holder
020 8861 0090