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London East and South East

London Bishops urge housing minister to protect tenants from rogue landlords

todayNovember 2, 2017 28

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The Bishops of Barking, Edmonton, Stepney, Croydon and Woolwich wrote a letter to Alok Sharma, urging him to back the Newham property licencing scheme.

The Bishop of Woolwich, Rt Rev Woyin Karowei Dorgu told Premier why the Bishops decided to join forces.

He said: “We felt that it’s our responsibility because it’s one of the priorities of the ministry of the Bishop to speak for the voiceless and to speak for those who are marginalised, oppressed and are suffering injustice in society as Jesus would do.”

The decision for the pioneering property licensing scheme in Newham is imminent and the scheme cannot roll further without backing from Mr Sharma.

Rt Rev Dorgu told Premier it is “very urgent” for tenants to be protected.

Yui Mok/PA Wire


While the Bishops, alongside leaders from the charity Citizens UK, welcomed recent moves to tackle the rising problem of bad landlords, they delivered the letter as “more can be done by local councils and community leaders”.

They also claimed in their letter that there is evidence that landlords continue to get away with leaving tenants in shocking housing conditions.

Rt Rev Dorgu highlighted the problem to Premier.

He explained “In the face of making so much money and wealth out of the industry, we’ve also experienced such a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor.

“Some of the states in which these homes…exist, is just simply unacceptable.”

The Bishops’ letter was delivered by a group of community leaders and children from a London school on Wednesday to the Department of Communities and local Government, along with blown-up pictures of dire housing situations affecting their communities.

So far, 27,000 Newham landlords in the private rented sector are registered to the property licensing scheme, which allows the Council to ensure tenants are aware of their rights and that illegal behaviour from landlords can be prosecuted.

The Newham scheme launched in 2013 after complaints against landlords in the private rented sector due to unsafe conditions and bad practice spiked.

It comes to an end in December, and under stricter restrictions imposed by the government in 2015, Newham must now apply to government for permission to continue to protect tenants for another five-year period.

Listen to the Bishop of Woolwich, Rt Rev Woyin Karowei Dorgu speaking with Premier’s Eno Adeogun:

London Bishops are calling on the housing minister to protect vulnerable tenants from bad landlords.

Written by: Rufus Olaniyan

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