Brent early morning raids target rogue landlords
Rogue landlords in North Wembley got a rude awakening following two early morning raids on overcrowded properties.
The raids were part of Brent Council’s ramped up enforcement activity to ensure that all landlords with unlicensed properties are held to account. The council is targeting landlords who let out substandard, squalid and overcrowded accommodation that make tenants’ lives a misery and have a significant impact on local neighbourhoods.
ITV London News filmed the raids to highlight the problem of overcrowding in London and Brent’s innovative use of landlord licensing to ensure quicker prosecutions against landlords who do not let out their properties to an acceptable standard.
The raids demonstrated the importance of landlord licensing and why most landlords in Brent need a licence and must adhere to the conditions of the licence, such as not letting out substandard or overcrowded accommodation.
In one raid, where access was restricted, there appeared to be six double bed mattresses and one single mattress on the living room floor, a clear sign of overcrowding.
In the second raid, there were 11 people living in a three bedroom mid terrace house. The tenants of Pakistani, Romanian and Bulgarian origin consisted of four couples and three single people. There were cramped conditions throughout the house including a small kitchen with an oven that didn’t work properly, grimy and dirty cupboards and a leaking sink. There was also evidence of mould and one tenant reported that the landlord only allows them to put the heating on once, or twice, a month. The backyard was full of household rubbish and was in a state of disrepair.
Cllr Margaret McLennan, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:
“These types of raids are a rude awakening for rogue landlords in Brent and demonstrate the importance of our landlord licensing scheme.
“Licensing ensures that properties are not overcrowded, are let out to an acceptable standard and are properly managed.
“It also reduces anti-social behaviour and illegally dumped rubbish which can have a significant impact on local neighbourhoods and property prices. Everyone in the borough benefits from licensing.“
The council’s licensing and enforcement team gathered evidence at both raids and the landlords are now likely to face prosecution, a significant fine and a criminal record.
In the last couple of months, the council’s increased enforcement activity has seen between two to five prosecutions per week and many more raids and prosecutions are expected in the coming months. Last month a couple letting out an unlicensed property in Wembley were ordered to pay £20,000.