Mayor of Barnet Hugh Rayner accused of 'acting illegally' towards his tenants by London Mayor Boris Johnson

Mayor Hugh Rayner with his wife, Susan

Mayor Hugh Rayner with his wife, Susan

First published in News
Last updated
Times Series: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

The Mayor of Barnet has come under fire over allegations he acted illegally towards tenants living in properties he owns.

Councillor Hugh Rayner owns 15 properties in Colindale with his wife, Susan, and four more are listed under his firm’s name – S&H Housing Limited.

But today, Barnet GLA member Andrew Dismore today raised concerns about the “unfair” way Cllr Rayner treats his tenants, who all receive housing benefit.

Speaking at the London Assembly Mayor’s Question Time this morning, Mr Dismore told Mayor Boris Johnson that Cllr Rayner was not part of the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme.

Mr Dismore said Cllr Rayner drafted 12-month contracts which permitted rent increases by any amount and at any time during the year – and in one case, a mother was slapped with a three per cent hike without notice.

Mr Dismore said: “Housing charity shelter told me they would almost certainly class this as an unfair term. It is clearly void of common law.”

The GLA heard how Cllr Rayner, who represents residents in Hale, also visited a tenant unannounced at 10pm asking for the new lease to be signed – even though his contract says adequate notice must be given.

Mr Dismore added: “The lease was presented to her with the last signature page showing, pressuring her to sign the lease without reading it.

“The most recent lease agreement that she signed stated that a named individual witnessed the signing. She was adamant that she had never seen the witness before and the lease was given to her pre-signed by the landlord and the witness.”

Online housing site Zoopla advises rent for his houses to be set at between £989 and £1,186 per month, but Mr Dismore said Cllr Rayner charged six out of seven tenants between £1,350 and £1,846.

Local Housing Allowance entitles people to between £1,009 and £1,560, and Mr Dismore accused him of “overcharging tenants to the detriment of the public purse”.

After Mr Dismore had finished speaking, Mr Johnson said: “There’s an argument in terms of misrepresentation of the lease, it sounds to me as though he has not been fair to the tenant.

“It seems to me, to be prima facie illegal.”

When quizzed by the Times Series, Cllr Rayner said he “never thought it was necessary” to join the accreditation board but that he would look into it based on our story.

He claims to have removed the clause about raising rent earlier this year as he now “appreciates they are non-enforceable”, but not could answer when the change took place.

And he no longer asks witnesses to pre-sign contracts – he admitted he admitted it was done on various occasions to “save time and trouble” but now appreciates it is incorrect.

He added that rent renewals or discussions about arrears are dealt with at the tenants home, and where possible, an appointment is made.

But when asked whether he felt 10pm was an unreasonable time to visit a tenant, he replied: “If they say it’s inconvenient for them, I go away. I take the tenants judgement.

“No pressure is applied.

“Efforts are made to have an English speaker available to translate – often the tenants children.”

He, could not, however, elaborate on the age of the children and said he does not feel this to be inappropriate.

He added: “With regards to charging above market rates, when letting to housing benefit funded tenants, our rents have been in line with the prevailing local housing allowance rates.”

Comments (15)

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5:50pm Wed 11 Jun 14

BarnetTrader says...

Rachman rises!

In the trough, sponging off the public purse for even more ... and the Tories make him mayor!
Rachman rises! In the trough, sponging off the public purse for even more ... and the Tories make him mayor! BarnetTrader
  • Score: 19

10:32am Thu 12 Jun 14

shirleykosky22@gmail.com says...

Amazing it has come out after he was appointed Mayor!! why not before?
Amazing it has come out after he was appointed Mayor!! why not before? shirleykosky22@gmail.com
  • Score: 14

10:36am Thu 12 Jun 14

Grumblepop says...

It's why he is a Tory Councillor ......... probably Salinger is his advisor he knows a thing or two and more about managing properties.
It's why he is a Tory Councillor ......... probably Salinger is his advisor he knows a thing or two and more about managing properties. Grumblepop
  • Score: 10

12:04pm Thu 12 Jun 14

marccohen53 says...

That's rich coming from Andrew Dismore who claimed £65,000 in second home expenses "to the detriment of the public purse"! Unbelievable that he even needed two homes to do a London MP's job!
That's rich coming from Andrew Dismore who claimed £65,000 in second home expenses "to the detriment of the public purse"! Unbelievable that he even needed two homes to do a London MP's job! marccohen53
  • Score: -6

12:56pm Thu 12 Jun 14

AverageBarnetResident says...

Dismore, arch-scrounger from the public purse. The man literally makes me heave.
Dismore, arch-scrounger from the public purse. The man literally makes me heave. AverageBarnetResident
  • Score: -3

6:54pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

The last two comments, we note, avoid the actual issue here. Wonder why?
The last two comments, we note, avoid the actual issue here. Wonder why? Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
  • Score: 13

8:25pm Thu 12 Jun 14

F..kedupBarnet says...

Resign Rayner
Resign Rayner F..kedupBarnet
  • Score: 9

10:54am Fri 13 Jun 14

Edgar de Jarnac says...

So Rayner has now removed the disgusting and illegal clauses that allowed him to raise his already excessive rents at any time and by any amount. But he has only removed them because he “appreciates they are non-enforceable” — not because he accepts that they are unfair and extortionate. What a revolting man!
So Rayner has now removed the disgusting and illegal clauses that allowed him to raise his already excessive rents at any time and by any amount. But he has only removed them because he “appreciates they are non-enforceable” — not because he accepts that they are unfair and extortionate. What a revolting man! Edgar de Jarnac
  • Score: 8

10:55am Fri 13 Jun 14

Edgar de Jarnac says...

marccohen53 wrote:
That's rich coming from Andrew Dismore who claimed £65,000 in second home expenses "to the detriment of the public purse"! Unbelievable that he even needed two homes to do a London MP's job!
Why are you trying to change the subject, Marc? Is it because you approve of Rayner's disgusting oppression of his tenants?
[quote][p][bold]marccohen53[/bold] wrote: That's rich coming from Andrew Dismore who claimed £65,000 in second home expenses "to the detriment of the public purse"! Unbelievable that he even needed two homes to do a London MP's job![/p][/quote]Why are you trying to change the subject, Marc? Is it because you approve of Rayner's disgusting oppression of his tenants? Edgar de Jarnac
  • Score: 12

10:59am Fri 13 Jun 14

Edgar de Jarnac says...

AverageBarnetResiden
t
wrote:
Dismore, arch-scrounger from the public purse. The man literally makes me heave.
Why, like marccohen53, are you also trying to change the subject? Do you support the immoral way Rayner treats his tenants?

What make me heave is to read the opinions of someone who hides behind the name AverageBarnetResiden
t so as to express opinions that would clearly not be supported by an average Barnet resident.
[quote][p][bold]AverageBarnetResiden t[/bold] wrote: Dismore, arch-scrounger from the public purse. The man literally makes me heave.[/p][/quote]Why, like marccohen53, are you also trying to change the subject? Do you support the immoral way Rayner treats his tenants? What make me heave is to read the opinions of someone who hides behind the name AverageBarnetResiden t so as to express opinions that would clearly not be supported by an average Barnet resident. Edgar de Jarnac
  • Score: 4

11:50am Fri 13 Jun 14

James NW7 says...

Let's be clear, marccohen is only here to be Matthew Offord's attack dog on Andrew Dismore as all he ever speaks about is Dismore's expenses in the past Parliament. Luckily this is the only dirt Offord can throw at Dismore. Marc may be an attack dog but an attack dog isn't much use if he's just a fluffy little poodle!
Let's be clear, marccohen is only here to be Matthew Offord's attack dog on Andrew Dismore as all he ever speaks about is Dismore's expenses in the past Parliament. Luckily this is the only dirt Offord can throw at Dismore. Marc may be an attack dog but an attack dog isn't much use if he's just a fluffy little poodle! James NW7
  • Score: 14

11:51am Fri 13 Jun 14

James NW7 says...

AverageBarnetResiden
t
wrote:
Dismore, arch-scrounger from the public purse. The man literally makes me heave.
I was brought up not to discuss my personal bodily functions in public. Kindly desist from doing so in future. Thank you.
[quote][p][bold]AverageBarnetResiden t[/bold] wrote: Dismore, arch-scrounger from the public purse. The man literally makes me heave.[/p][/quote]I was brought up not to discuss my personal bodily functions in public. Kindly desist from doing so in future. Thank you. James NW7
  • Score: 8

4:28pm Fri 13 Jun 14

marccohen53 says...

This is one fluffy poodle that seems to have clearly upset you guys. If I am Offord's attack dog (which I can assure I am so not) you must be Dismore's donkeys.

I don't approve of Rayner's behaviour but that's nothing compared to public raider of the purse no 1 Dismore. Is he still living in West London and claiming travel expenses on the GLA or does he actually live in the place he is standing for as Ed's candidate?
This is one fluffy poodle that seems to have clearly upset you guys. If I am Offord's attack dog (which I can assure I am so not) you must be Dismore's donkeys. I don't approve of Rayner's behaviour but that's nothing compared to public raider of the purse no 1 Dismore. Is he still living in West London and claiming travel expenses on the GLA or does he actually live in the place he is standing for as Ed's candidate? marccohen53
  • Score: -7

4:59pm Fri 13 Jun 14

AverageBarnetResident says...

Hee Hee! So much fun to see all the Labour party bloggers get defensive over little Dismore.

I'm sure Barnet's latest conservative administration will rise above this sort of mud-slinging and support Raynor all the way. Jolly good too.
Hee Hee! So much fun to see all the Labour party bloggers get defensive over little Dismore. I'm sure Barnet's latest conservative administration will rise above this sort of mud-slinging and support Raynor all the way. Jolly good too. AverageBarnetResident
  • Score: -10

3:24pm Sat 14 Jun 14

Rog T says...

It is even funnier to watch Barnet Tories pretending their car hasn't crashed
It is even funnier to watch Barnet Tories pretending their car hasn't crashed Rog T
  • Score: 6

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