How many of us are there?
The 2011 Census found 73,097 private renters in the borough – that’s 28% of the total population. The current figure is probably higher, considering how much the housing crisis has deepened since then. So there are plenty of private renters to campaign with – you could start with your local group, Waltham Forest Renters.
If renting is so bad, why don’t private renters just buy a house?
Because in Waltham Forest, the average home costs 13.29 times the average income. This isn’t as bad as in some parts of London, but it’s still out of reach for ordinary people. So most of the homes for first-time buyers get snapped up by Buy To Let (BTL) landlords.
Why can’t they get a council house then?
Because there are currently 8,306 households waiting 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 average rents for Waltham Forest, recorded by the Valuation Office Agency, are below. Remember, these figures don’t include fuel or council tax bills:
Room in a shared house: £598
Studio flat: £778
One bedroom flat: £1,000
Two-bedroom flat: £1,250
Three-bedroom flat: £1,500
House with four or more bedrooms: £1,900
That’s a lot. I guess that means a lot of private renters have to claim housing benefit to stay alive then?
Yes – 10,470 private renters in Waltham Forest 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 Waltham Forest depends on which part of the borough you live in, the rates are:
Outer North East London (e.g. Chingford)
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
Outer East London (e.g. Walthamstow)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £325.65
One Bedroom Rate: £674.14
Two Bedrooms Rate: £834.69
Three Bedrooms Rate:£1,050.40
Four Bedrooms Rate:£1, 352.74
Can I talk to someone at the council about problems with my private landlord?
If you have a problem with disrepair or other housing issues, Waltham Forest Council recommends using this form
The council can then call an officer out to the property, who, if finding the property in a state of disrepair or overcrowding, can force the landlord to fix the issue or fine them. Alternatively, tenants can also email
If you feel you are paying too much rent, then you can get a fair rent evaluation by the Valuation Office Agency. This is free of charge! For more details click here
Do private landlords in Waltham Forest have to get a licence?
Yes, all rented properties in Walthamstow Forest have to be licensed with some exceptions.
The council keeps a list of licensed properties which is available to view here. This is great way to check that any property you are thinking of renting is licensed and that you won’t fall victim to a rogue and criminal landlord
Several of the property licence conditions require landlords to maintain privately rented homes in a reasonable state of internal and external repair, so you know you won’t be renting a ‘bed in a shed’ slum!
Does Waltham Forest Council run a non-profit letting agency for private renters?
Not exactly, but Waltham Forest council does run a lettings self-help scheme. It can offer to support private tenants with deposits and first months’ rent payments, help with removal costs and make sure any property you move into is of a good standard. For more info read here or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Does Waltham Forest Council have a stand alone PRS strategy in its housing policy?
In Waltham Forest Council’s Housing Strategy, raising standards within the private rented sector is listed as a commitment. This seems to have been done through the extension of the licensing and the lettings self-help scheme. We hope Waltham Forest continues in this direction.
More info coming soon.
How many criminal landlords has Waltham Forest Council prosecuted?
We are still waiting for a recent figure from the council, but we do know that six landlords were prosecuted between 2011 and 2014.
Stella Creasy, one of the borough’s three MPs, recently ran her own campaign looking for the best and worst letting agents in E17.
At Waltham Forest council, these people might be useful to talk to (as well as your local renters group):
Councillor Khevyn Limbajee
Portfolio Lead Member for Housing
020 8496 4286