Officers discovered men living mattress to mattress inside a run-down flat above a commercial premises during a dawn raid today.
Police and licensing enforcement officers entered the converted one-bedroom flat in Burnt Oak shortly before 6am following complaints from neighbours about the number of people hanging around outside the property.
Officers found 16 men crammed inside three rooms chock-full with bunkbeds made out of bits of wood and pallets. The tenants were sleeping seven, five and four to each room. Some of the men claimed not to have any contact with the landlord of the unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Spencer Randolph, Head of Housing Services, said: "These tenants are being exploited and forced to live in appalling conditions by a landlord who has no regard for their safety. They are living in a fire trap that is uninhabitable, grossly overcrowd and insanitary. People renting in the private sector in Brent are entitled to live in homes that are safe and well-managed."
An investigation is now under way to track down the identity of the landlord. Some of the tenants said that they had only been living in the property for a few days.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: "It is not acceptable for residents to live in such sub-standard conditions. Safety measures in the home should be a priority for letting agencies and landlords. A HMO licence helps protect tenants against rogue landlords and reduces antisocial behaviour in residential areas."
If you are a Brent landlord who lets out shared accommodation, you can apply for a licence online at www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing
If you suspect that someone is renting out an unlicensed property in Brent, please report them anonymously at www.brent.gov.uk/reportaproperty