London’s Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a new tool for tenants to check on their landlords - and possibly claim refunds through rent repayment orders.
The Property Licensing Checker sets out whether properties in certain locations require licences - but it doesn’t actually tell the tenant if the landlord concerned has the licence required.
The PropTech tool responds to entries giving the postcode, address, and confirmation that the property is privately rented.
Users also have to give some idea of household size to trigger information about whether the property requires HMO licensing.
The tool will then lead users to local council websites and provides information on how to check whether the property has the appropriate licence - but that is left to the user to complete the different requirements in different areas.
If the user believes their property is not licensed, they have an online form to report the landlord to the local authority in question.
The checker points out that those tenants living in illegally unlicensed properties may be entitled to a Rent Repayment Order; the process for applying for this, too, varies between borough councils.
“With nearly a fifth of London’s private rented accommodation not meeting basic standards, it is vital that every privately rented property is licensed so landlords can be held to account for the conditions their tenants live in” says Khan.
He adds that the new tool will help “to redress the imbalance of power that currently exists in the London private rented sector.”
The tool can be found on the Mayor of London's website.