A new course at Middlesex University will train private rented sector enforcement officers to tackle rogue landlords in London and support the city’s 2.4 million renters.
The Private Sector Housing Interventions programme will be run in partnership with the Greater London Authority as it aims to ensure rental properties are in a decent condition across the capital.
Nearly a fifth of privately rented homes (18 per cent) in London fail the Government’s Decent Homes standard and its private renters are disproportionately likely to be defined as ‘vulnerable’.
"Poor housing conditions and exploitative rents have an awful impact on both the physical and mental health of tenants and these actions need to have consequences," Mayor Of London, Sadiq Khan.
The one-year MDX course, which began in October 2021, is a level five qualification accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
The course aims to train those with little or no experience in environmental health or regulation of private rental housing up to the standard of a private rented sector enforcement officer for borough councils in London.
Students will learn the foundations of law and governance; private sector housing regulation, construction and inspection techniques, tenancy sustainment and the role of various agencies in tenancy support.
They will be able to continue their education and go onto the B.Sc. Environmental Health or B.Sc. Environmental Health (apprenticeship) with advanced standing.
Dr Alan Page, MDX Associate Professor of Environmental and Public Health, said: “This programme is a substantial addition in support of private sector housing regulation and in the Mayor’s aspiration to improve the quality of the housing within the sector.
“Middlesex University has a long history in training environmental health practitioners (EHPs) and this programme mirrors the specialist training that EHPs receive.
“These students will add really able practitioners to London enforcement teams and thereby increase capacity to improve the sector and the life circumstances of tenants.
"The students on the programme are incredibly enthusiastic and having them learning together is enabling them to recognise best practices operated across London.”
Learners studying the qualification spend time both in the classroom and working in borough enforcement teams as enforcement officers. They also develop tenancy sustainment skills to allow them to mediate and resolve issues between landlords and tenants and better support tenants facing evictions and potential homelessness.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Every single Londoner deserves a secure, safe and comfortable home.
“Poor housing conditions and exploitative rents have an awful impact on both the physical and mental health of tenants and these actions need to have consequences
“Nearly a fifth of London’s private rented accommodation doesn’t meet basic standards and it is clear that more needs to be done to support tenants.
“I want to see boroughs empowered to stand up for tenants.
“This new qualification will give councils across London the workforce and expertise to mediate disputes, enforce standards and crack down on the rogues who give the many honest operators in the sector a bad name.”
The Mayor’s new environmental health qualification is a key part of his ‘Better Renting Programme’, which has seen 265 officers trained in courses commissioned by the GLA including tenancy sustainment, supporting tenants in domestic abuse cases, and gathering evidence for prosecutions.
Mr Khan is also calling for powers from Government to introduce rent controls in London as many tenants struggle with the cost-of-living crisis.