Rogue landlords got a rude awakening following an early morning raid on an overcrowded property in Kingsbury.
The raid, which took place last week, discovered 17 people living in a three bedroom terraced house. There were cramped conditions throughout and no hot water or heating. Everything was in a state of disrepair with protruding electric cables, tiny rooms with up to five beds in them, grimy mattresses, a dirty kitchen and a leaking sink. The backyard was also full of household rubbish and old mattresses.
All the tenants were young men, paying cash in hand to one person living in the property who then passed on the official rent of £1200 per month. The total rent collected each month by the head tenant who now faces the prospect of prosecution proceedings was found to be £3,400. Both rent recipients have been advised to leave the property immediately or face an unlimited failure to licence fine. There was also one arrest made during the raid for a previously convicted offence.
The raid was part of the council's ramped up enforcement activity to ensure that all landlords with unlicensed properties are held to account and are not letting out substandard, squalid and overcrowded accommodation that make tenants' lives a misery and have a significant impact on local neighbourhoods.
Sky News joined the raid to highlight the problem of overcrowding in London and the innovative use of landlord licensing schemes to ensure quicker and more efficient prosecutions against landlords who do not let out their properties to an acceptable standard.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, said:
"Having to live with 16 other people in these cramped conditions is unacceptable. We are talking about people's lives and no one deserves to spend theirs in a grimy, overcrowded house with no hot water or heating.
"While there are many good landlords in Brent who have licensed their properties, there's still a significant number who haven't, who are operating illegally and exploiting people for profit.
"We are in the process of identifying and taking enforcement action against unlicensed properties and I'm happy to see actions including the raid last week, taken against landlords who do not comply with the law.
"Licensing is good for everyone in Brent. It drives up standards in the private sector and ensures a good standard of living for our residents, something we are committed to providing."
Our enforcement officers were joined by the Metropolitan Police who were there to support the enforcement of an entry warrant and to provide support for the enforcement officers who had been previously obstructed in carrying out their duties at the property. Officers from Immigration Enforcement were also present to investigate the immigration status of the tenants as legally required.
If you're a landlord who lets our shared accommodation, you can apply for a licence at www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing or call 020 8937 2384.
If you suspect that someone is renting out an unlicensed property in Brent, please report them anonymously by emailing email@example.com or by calling 020 8937 2384/5.