Council raid finds 31 people living in horrendous conditions
A raid on a Wembley house by officers from Brent Council’s housing enforcement team has uncovered appalling conditions including a Slumdog Millionaire-esque shanty town shack made from wood offcuts, pallets and tarpaulins.
The raid by Brent Council’s enforcement team, which was featured on BBC London News yesterday (Tuesday 26 July), found 31 people living in what was originally a four-bedroom house on Napier Road.
The bed-in-shed shack, which is in the garden of the house, is unheated and unlit and was being used to house the only woman living at the address.
According to Brent Council, the property is owned by an unscrupulous landlord who now faces prosecution, a criminal record and an unlimited fine. It has been converted from its original state to have nine bedrooms, each stuffed with bunk beds in order to cram in as many tenants as possible.
Hazards found in the property included a partially collapsed ceiling in the kitchen.
It’s thought the sheer number of people in the house meant that the landlord was earning in the region of £80,000 a year in rent.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Lead Member for Housing said:
“We’ve seen pest-ridden slums and even beds in sheds before, but this is a new low. The shack looks like something you would expect to see in a Hollywood depiction of a shanty town, not Zone 4 of London. Criminal landlords cannot and will not get away with this.
“Our ground-breaking licensing scheme is helping us to tackle poor standards in the private rented sector and focus on the minority of unscrupulous landlords who refuse to comply with the law.
“The people who pay the heaviest price in the worst rogue landlord cases are their tenants, who pay over the odds for substandard accommodation and live in cramped, hazardous conditions. We will prosecute any landlord or agent we find treating their tenants in such a despicable way.“
Richard Tacagni, Managing Director of London Property Licensing said:
“It is truly shocking to see such Dickensian housing conditions in London in 2016. This really demonstrates the extent on the housing crisis we now face.
“I am pleased to see Brent Council cracking down on such appalling conditions and hope they will provide the occupants with all necessary support to find suitable alternative accommodation, whilst pursuing legal action against the landlord“.
Since the start of this year, Brent Council has ramped up its enforcement activity, with between two to five prosecutions each week and many more expected in the coming months.
If you’re a Brent landlord who lets out shared accommodation, you can apply for a licence online at www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing. Landlords can also obtain expert independent advice by contacting London Property Licensing (contact us), to help ensure that their rented accommodation is fully compliant.