Social housing tenants who repeatedly damage the properties they rent should face punitive benefit sanctions to help recover repair costs and deter further bad behaviour, according to a new report by London Assembly Member Susan Hall.
The report recommends that councils and social housing associations should be able to levy fines against tenants who vandalise their home in the form of deductions to benefits, 24housing reports.
The controversial report, titled ‘Rogue Tenants: Restoring Fairness in London’s Social Housing‘ (PDF), authored by Conservative Assembly Member Susan Hall, argues that a small minority of “rogue tenants” have cost taxpayers in London around £3.4million since 2014.
The report also suggests that a list of problem tenants should be collected and shared with authorities, and that those found to have a history of damaging properties should be asked to pay an upfront cost or deposit when renting a new property.
It also argues that the “previous behaviour of tenants should be reflected in all councils’ priority banding through their housing allocation policies”.
Susan Hall said: “The depressing reality is that a tiny minority of rogue tenants are hurting the law-abiding majority.
“Through recklessly vandalising properties, these people are not only harming the reputation of their local areas but also forcing local councils and housing associations to spend millions on fixing their damage – money which could be used instead to invest in new and existing housing stock.
“The recommendations contained in this report would go some way to restore fairness to our city’s social housing system.
“Through introducing tenant deposits, benefit sanctions and restricting access to social housing, we could at last start to deter rogue tenants and stand up for all those residents who wouldn’t dream of breaking the law.
“It is clear that councils and housing associations are failing to accurately record damages or recover the significant costs they incur. These local organisations need to be open to reform if we are to restore fairness in London’s social housing.”