Posts with tag: Westminster City Council

Westminster Council calls for stricter powers to tackle anti-social behaviour caused by short-term lets

Published On: February 10, 2022 at 9:50 am


Categories: Law News,Lettings News

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Westminster City Council is calling for more regulations and restrictions to target the owners of irresponsibly managed short-term let properties.

It says that short-term letting occurs on an industrial scale in the city, with more than 13,000 properties available on sites such as Airbnb and Almost one in three residents living in the West End, where there are the largest number of short-term let properties, told the council that irresponsible short-term letting is a problem in their area.

Westminster City Council has a full-time team currently investigating 2,000 breaches of short-term let rules. It reports an increase in complaints, ranging from noise, rowdy parties, serious overcrowding, dumping rubbish, and sex work occurring within nightly lets.

Police were called to a property in William Mews recently to shut down a party from a short-term let. A neighbour reported at the time: “There’s nothing desirable about having a commercial enterprise doing business in a quiet residential street that is now at my front door. I now find myself next to a ‘party house’ with our narrow street clogged by extra vehicles and fearing now to even answer my door.”

The local authority is keen to work with the Government on securing new powers to target owners. It will call for short-term letting companies to introduce registration schemes, bolstered with new powers to target owners and to fine them for irresponsible dumping of their rubbish.

Westminster City Council also wants greater powers given to local authorities to introduce exemptions for high impact areas as there are many places in the city which are unable to cope with the impact of short-term lets.

Cllr Rachael Robathan, Leader of Westminster City Council, comments: “We absolutely support responsible short-term letting and recognise that it is one of the most flexible and affordable options for people who want to visit central London – especially as Westminster City Council is working hard to bring tourism back to London. But I strongly believe that this must be done in such a way as to also protect the interests of residents.

“While some properties are let responsibly, a large number are not and these result in there being noise, illegal dumping, antisocial behaviour and, at its worst, criminal activity.

“Many short-term let properties are causing a strain on council resources and making life hell for many of our residents who constantly complain to us about the detrimental effect they are having. Our city inspectors work closely with the police to close unauthorised events held at short-term lets as quickly and as safely as possible. But ultimately, we need more restrictions and powers given to us as a local authority to tackle short-term letting anti-social behaviour impacting our communities.”

Westminster launches online HMO checker to help combat rogue landlords

Published On: August 26, 2020 at 8:34 am


Categories: Landlord News,Tenant News

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Westminster City Council has launched an online tool to check that HMOs are licensed to help raise standards in the private rental sector.

The checker is designed to help the council identify rogue landlords who are renting unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs). If tenants find they are living in an unlicensed HMO, they could be entitled to a rent repayment of up to 12 months’ rent.

A let property is an HMO is if there are three or more tenants from more than one household, sharing toilet, bathroom, and kitchen facilities. It can also include buildings divided into self-contained flat, Westminster City Council highlights.

If an HMO is let to five or more people from more than one household, the property will usually require a licence.

If they give consent, tenants who use the checker and find they could be living in an unlicensed property will be contacted by the council to discuss their case. If they believe they may be entitled to apply for a Rent Repayment Order (RRO), tenants will be put in contact with the Safer Renting organisation, who will guide them through the process of applying to the Property Tribunal for an RRO.

The checker has been created to support the council’s Housing Standards Taskforce which comprises trading standards, city inspectors and environmental health officers, and was set up to protect vulnerable residents by investigating landlords and letting agents who flout the rules or provide tenants with sub-standard homes.

Councillor Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Licensing at Westminster City Council said: “Our goal is to make Westminster a place where high-quality housing is available to all. 

“A good home is at the centre of people’s lives and we hope this new online tool will help tenants to be aware of their rights and check whether their landlords are abiding by the rules. 

“We would encourage all landlords letting homes of multiple occupation to ensure they are being responsible and meeting their full legal obligations or face the consequences.”

More information about the taskforce can be found at:

If you would like to know more about HMOs, check out this guide on specialist property insurance provider Just Landlords’ blog.