Brent enforcement officers raid overcrowded and cockroach-infested house
Earlier this month (August 2017), a team of Brent Council property licensing officers discovered six families living inside a damp, poorly ventilated, cockroach infested 4-bedroom home in London Road, Wembley, after neighbours complained of overcrowding.
In one of the rooms, two adults and two children were found to be sharing one bed between them, with up to twenty-six people living inside the house in total.
The enforcement officers said that the conditions were among the worst that they had ever seen as they encountered disrepair, damp, mould, faulty lighting, blocked fire escapes, dumped rubbish, insects, rat-eaten furniture, swarming flies and hundreds of cockroaches.
A tenant who paid £650 a month in rent told council officers that his landlord had occasionally put down insect repellent but that this hadn’t been enough to kill off the cockroaches in his room.
“The cockroaches bite my children, my wife and me,” said Placid, a 44-year-old full-time waiter. “We have bites all over us. In the night, it’s even worse. There are thousands of them and they are everywhere – in the bed, in the fridge, in the cupboards. And they are growing.“
In the back garden, officers discovered a family-of-six sharing a bunkbed inside a crammed extension. Three adults and three children were living in an inadequate six metre squared space in an unhygienic, poorly maintained state.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said:
“This is one of the most tragic cases of poor living conditions in the private rented sector within Brent. These vulnerable families have been cheated by a landlord who is well aware that he is housing people in squalor for a profit. The Council won’t stand for it. Residents deserve to live in dignity.“
Another raid finds unsafe bedsits in poorly converted property
In another dawn enforcement raid carried out by Brent Council in August 2017, tenants were discovered living in damp and unsafe converted bedsits.
A team of five enforcement officers found eleven rooms, some of which had no windows, inside a converted property housing tenants in makeshift bedsits.
Many of the rooms contained mould, damp and disrepair due to cooking and toilet facilities that had been crammed into an inadequate space.
The unlicensed property in Preston Road had no working fire safety system, blocked fire escape routes and health hazards created by poor ventilation inside the rooms.
Tenancy agreements showed that some of the residents were paying £600 a month for the substandard accommodation, allowing the landlord potentially to rake in £6,600 a month from the eleven rooms.
The landlord, who arrived at the property while the inspection was ongoing, told enforcement officers that he wasn’t aware that he needed a licence. All landlords with houses in multiple occupation renting a property out to three or more unrelated people, even if they are on a single tenancy, are legally required to obtain a licence from Brent Council.
The raid was carried out as part of Brent Council’s continued crackdown on rogue landlords and illegal subletters in the borough.
Legal action could now be taken by Brent Council in respect of both these properties. Since January 2016, rogue landlords in Brent have been prosecuted and ordered to pay more than £600,000 in fines.
For more information about property licensing in Brent, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/brent.
For all the latest news and events, you can sign up for the free London Property Licensing newsletter here.