Published: 30 December 2020
Last updated: 7 October 2021
Our goal is to make Westminster a City for All by offering high quality housing. A good home is at the centre of people's lives and forms the bedrock of the thriving and vibrant communities and neighbourhoods of Westminster.
Unfortunately, a minority of properties are let by irresponsible landlords. The Housing Standards Taskforce (made up of environmental health officers, Trading Standards, planning enforcement and city inspectors) protects vulnerable residents by:
- targeting, investigating and prosecuting criminal landlords and letting agents
- tackling the problems associated with short-term letting
- ensuring that letting agents are complying with rules about advertising fees, are members of redress schemes, are protecting tenants deposits and are not letting poorly insulated homes
- using an intelligence-led approach to investigate criminal landlords and take legal action to stop them
- working with other agencies to ensure that rogue landlords can't operate in Westminster
Everybody has the right to a safe home, and through this taskforce, we aim to make that a reality, to make Westminster a City for All.
How we can help tenants
We are here to help with problems you experience from landlords or letting agents, such as harassment, verbal or physical threats, withholding deposits or poor conditions.
Your contact details will not be shared with the landlord or agent.
We're an intelligence-led team, so you don’t need to give us your name, but it will help with our investigations if we can contact you to find out more.
In some cases, in order to progress your complaint, we may need to contact your landlord directly (and if you have a specific complaint about your home, it is likely that your landlord will know who has made the complaint).
Unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
You will usually be living in an HMO if you live in a shared house, bedsit or hostel with two or more people who aren’t part of the same family.
Properties where there are three or more people sharing facilities (eg a bathroom, kitchen or toilet) require an HMO licence and must meet minimum standards, particularly in relation to fire safety.
Landlords who fail to apply for a licence can be prosecuted or issued with a fixed penalty up to £30,000.
A landlord is not allowed to evict tenants unless a licence or exemption is in place. Tenants may also be able to claim back up to 12 months rent through a rent repayment order if they are living in an unlicensed HMO.
The Mayor of London has created an online licence checker so you can check if a property require a licence.
Licence holders have a duty to display their contact details in the property.
If you are sharing with three people or more and you think the property may need a licence, please let us know at [email protected]
Flats in purpose-built blocks are exempt from HMO licensing if there are three or more flats.
Report a rogue landlord or agent
You can also check whether your landlord is on the London wide rogue landlord database.
Or for general enquiries contact the Housing Standards Taskforce at [email protected].
Short-term or nightly letting
A nightly let, also known as short-term let, is the occupation of a property by the same person for less than 90 consecutive nights.
The Housing Standards Taskforce investigates unauthorised and poorly managed nightly letting in Westminster.