Dawn raid by Brent Council finds 17 men living in three-bedroom terrace house
On 27 November 2019, enforcement officers from Brent Council awoke 17 men sleeping on mattresses during a dawn raid on a private rented property.
The exploited tenants were crammed inside a three-bedroom, two-storey terrace house in Coles Green Road, Dollis Hill.
The raid followed a tip-off about a suspected unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Council officers discovered the men were paying £50 a week to a head tenant in exchange for overcrowded, unsafe and illegal housing conditions. Mould covered the walls of one of the makeshift bedrooms on the ground floor. None of the smoke alarms in the property were working, meaning the tenants would have no warning in the event of a fire.
The 17 renters were sharing one bathroom and kitchen between them, with up to five people sleeping on mattresses in one of the rooms.
Spencer Randolph, Head of Private Housing Services, Brent Council said:
“We’ve seen illegal sublets try to pass the buck on who is responsible for exploiting vulnerable tenants. The bottom line is that we will hold rogue landlords and subletters responsible for breaking licensing laws, and we’ll take prosecutions against both.
“Running illegal, unlicensed properties can land landlords and subletters in court. If found guilty, they’ll be subject to unlimited fines and a criminal conviction.“
Licensing laws for small HMOs have been extended in Brent for a further five years. Whilst the current additional licensing scheme ends on 31 December, a replacement scheme starts on 1 February 2020.
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing in the London Borough of Brent is available here.
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