5:30pm Thursday 12th June 2014
By Anna Slater
This week, Barnet’s Mayor Hugh Rayner came under fire for the “unfair” way he has treated tenants living in the properties he owns.
Yesterday, Mayor of London Boris Johnson openly admitted Cllr Rayner’s behaviour has been “prima facie illegal” at the London Assembly’s Question Time.
Cllr Rayner, a Hale councillor, owns 15 properties in the Colindale area with his wife, Susan, and four more under his firm’s name – S&H Housing Limited.
So the Times Series is asking its readers: do you think he should carry on as Mayor?
GLA member for Barnet Andrew Dismore has made the following allegations against Cllr Rayner:
• He is not part of the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, which Barnet Borough Council "urges" all landlords to be a part of
• He drafted 12-month contracts which permit rent increases by any amount during any time of year – and in one case, a mother was slapped with a three per cent hike without warning
• Turning up to a tenant’s house unannounced at 10pm at night, “pressuring” her to sign a new lease without reading it
• Using tenant’s children as translators
• Fellow Conservative Councillor John Hart was asked to pre-sign a lease without the tenant being present – something which is illegal
• Overcharging residents on housing benefit “to the detriment of the public purse”
When quizzed by the Times Series, Cllr Rayner told us:
• He “didn’t think it was necessary” to join the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme but that he would look into it
• He has since removed the clause about raising the rent
• He no longer asks witnesses to pre-sign contracts and only did this to save time
• The tenant could have asked him to “come back at a better time” if it was inconvenient and she wasn't pressured
• Children are only used as translators if their parents agree
• He no longer asks witnesses to pre-sign contracts as he appreciates it’s incorrect practice
• Rent has always been in line with the prevailing local housing allowance rates
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