A licensing scheme to crackdown on rogue landlords has been extended by another five years.

The Government has granted approval for Waltham Forest Council to renew its private property selective licensing scheme.

Under the scheme private landlords must pay £650 to license a single dwelling for a period of up to five years.

Landlords are then subject to legal checks, such as fire safety precautions – with penalties of up to £30,000 if they don’t comply.

Cllr Louise Mitchell, cabinet member for housing and homelessness prevention, said: “Our selective licensing scheme is an important tool for us as we work to ensure all private rental tenants in Waltham Forest have a decent roof over their head.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Landlords face fines if properties do not meet safety standards.

“We know that the majority of landlords are reputable and take good care of their properties and tenants. However, there are a minority who are happy to take advantage of those in need of a home and exploit them to line their own pockets.

“Our message to these rogue landlords is clear: If you want to rent property out in Waltham Forest, your property must meet the licensing scheme’s standards and you must ensure that your tenants are safe. If you do not, we will find out and take action against you. Tenants deserve to live safety, with security, and in comfort.”

The scheme, which came into force in April 2015, will be renewed for another five years starting May 1, 2020

It will cover 18 of the borough’s 20 wards, excluding Hatch Lane and Endlebury.

The council is offering an early-bird discount to “responsible” landlords who register between Friday, May 1 and Friday, July 31.

Since selective licensing was introduced in April 2015 over 27,000 licences have been issued.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

The scheme will be renewed on May 1, 2020.

The council has issued more than 149 civil penalties and more than 50 interim management orders, securing 94 successful prosecutions resulting in more than £323,000 in court-imposed fines.

Critics of the scheme have claimed licensing schemes struggle to identify criminal landlords, as they simply will not sign up.

John Stewart, policy manager for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “Councils are not required to inspect properties before granting them, giving tenants false hope that because a landlord has a licence it means the property they rent meets all the required standards.

“No criminal landlord who flouts the law will ever willingly come forward to make themselves known under a licensing scheme.”

A government review into the effectiveness of selective licensing schemes published last year found it was “an effective tool when implemented properly.”