Dismore raises Barnet’s bad landlord Mayors


At today’s Mayor’s Question Time, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM asked the Mayor if he agreed that local politicians who are partners in landlord businesses should be especially careful to comply with housing law. (Video here)


Mr Dismore referred to the example of two Barnet Council Conservative recent   Mayors. He said:


‘To misquote Oscar Wilde, one could say to Barnet Conservative Party Councillors:


‘To have one Mayor exposed as a dodgy landlord, may be regarded as a misfortune; to have two looks like carelessness.’


‘In this chamber a couple of years ago, I exposed the then Mayor of Barnet, Cllr Hugh Rayner’s dubious practices as a landlord of 19 properties in the borough.  Boris Johnson agreed with my criticisms, and on just one of the many issues said:


 ‘… it sounds to me as though he has not been fair to the tenant. It seems to me, to be prima facie illegal.’


‘You might have thought Barnet Conservatives would have been more careful over their choice of Mayors but it’s happened again.


‘Their Mayor last year, Councillor Mark Shooter, has seen his property firm Kingscroft Estates LLP fined for illegally letting out a terraced house in Camden, where 14 people were found sharing a single kitchen; environmental health officers found rat droppings in a storage room; tenants able to access an unguarded flat roof; and  the building  did not have a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) licence.


‘Cllr Shooter’s firm was ordered to pay almost £10,000 by Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court after the company pleaded guilty to failing to license the house and to two breaches of HMO regulations.’


Mr Dismore asked Sadiq Khan:


‘Given the role of Councils in regulating housing and rental conditions, how can the public trust that Councillors are working in the best interests of the public if they themselves don’t abide by  the law and the rules that apply to them?’


The Mayor said that whilst he could not comment on individual cases he was looking at a system to name and shame criminal landlords. He favoured a licensing regime to raise standards.