How many private renters are there in Havering?
In 2015, the Office for National Statistics found 29,800 private renters in Havering. The current figure is probably higher.
If renting is so bad, why don’t private renters just buy a house?
Because in Havering the average home costs nearly ten times the average income. This puts home ownership out of reach for most people.
Why can’t they get a council house?
Because there are currently 2,165 households waiting for a council house in Havering
Looks like we’re stuck in the private rented sector then. What’s it going to cost?
Monthly median average rents in Havering recorded by the Valuation Office Agency, are:
Room in a shared house: £433
Studio flat: £675
One-bedroom flat: £800
Two-bedroom flat: £1,000
Three-bedroom flat: £1,250
House with four or more bedrooms: £1,600
Remember, though, that these figures don’t include fuel bills or council tax.
That’s a lot. I guess that means a lot of private renters have to claim housing benefit to live then?
Yes – more than 4,900 private renters in Havering 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 receive, 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 Havering depends on whereabouts in the borough you live
Outer North East London
Room in a shared house: £326.54
One bedroom rate: £675.99
Two bedroom rate: £836.98
Three bedroom rate: £1053.29
Four bedroom rate: £1359.06
South West Essex
Room in a shared house: £283.44
One bedroom rate: £557.02
Two bedroom rate: £700.71
Three bedroom rate: £818.34
Four bedroom rate: £1158.66
Can I talk to someone at the council about problems with my private landlord?
The Council website has a contact form which is primarily for council tenants but they should still help you.
Although Havering Council offers advice via their website, Havering is one of the least helpful of all London boroughs. We have not been able to find out any direct contact details and the council does not offer the kind of specialist help that other councils provide private renters
Are there any Tenancy Relations Officers (TROs)?
Not to help private renters, specifically but they really should! Perhaps the council is waiting for a campaigner to contact them and suggest the idea.
Do private landlords in Havering have to get a licence?
The law states that all councils have to licence Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs,). That is, homes shared by three or more people who aren’t all members of the same family.
In Summer 2019, Havering Council is consulting with residents on two proposals to extend property licensing, to ensure decent homes across the borough. The consultation closes on 20 September. See more details and contribute a response
Does Havering council run a non-profit letting agency for private renters?
Yes, but as with the case with most councils this scheme is limited in scope. It is only available for those most in need of private housing. However, Liberty Housing has been running for over ten years, and if you think it may be able to help you, then read more about the scheme here.
Havering does not currently host a forum for renters but you can seek advice from your local Councillor in person, at a surgery, or contact them via email. You could suggest a renters’ forum at the same time, too.
How many prosecutions against criminal landlords has Havering Council made?
There’s been a sea change in Havering. In the five years to March 2016, Havering Council did not even attempt any housing prosecutions. However, in the five months to August 2018, Havering Council issued 52 penalty notices to criminal landlords across the borough; that’s £166,000 in fines.
Councillor Damian White is now Leader of Havering Council, having previously served as Cabinet Member for Housing. He promises “the strongest possible action” against landlords who breach regulations. Here at Havering Council, we are targeting those irresponsible landlords who are taking advantage of local families and individuals by providing overcrowded and poorly maintained HMO properties.
Cllr. White says “We won’t tolerate it and neither will we stand for landlords not having the correct licences. This is why we set up our Landlord Licensing Scheme earlier this year, to tackle those landlords who are continually breaching the regulations. We won’t let them get away with it and will continue to be proactive in our work to make sure tenants are living safely in private rented accommodation.”
Who else can I speak to about making private renting fairer in Havering?
Every council is divided between Councillors, who are elected politicians, and non-political officers, who are appointed to do a particular job. In Havering, these people might be useful to speak to:
Alternatively, you can speak to Havering Council officers in the Private Sector Team on 01708 434667.