Enforcement officers uncovered another unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) when they raided a property in Preston this morning as part of their ongoing enforcement crackdown.
The team discovered ten men and women sleeping in what was originally a three bedroom semi-detached suburban house. Brent Council is ramping up its enforcement activities before new legislation comes into effect in October this year.
Under the changes, the house in Carlton Avenue East would be classified as a mandatory HMO. The new government regulations will mean that any privately rented property with five or more people who are not all related will need a mandatory licence.
Council officers identified a number of serious hazards during this morning's raid, such as no fire detection system, no fire doors and unsafe electrics within the poorly maintained property.
Spencer Randolph, Head of Private Housing Services, said: "The people living in this house are handing over more than £30,000 a year in rent and in return they are being short changed with unsafe living conditions. It's not acceptable that private tenants paying decent rents should be exploited and put in danger by unprofessional landlords and agents.
"We brought in licencing to deal with just these sorts of issues and to give us more powers to take a robust approach against rogue landlords. If you're letting out a property in Brent, you need to be sure who's living in it and ensure it is properly managed and maintained. If it needs a licence, apply for one now before we catch you and hit you with a hefty fine and even a criminal record."
Council officers are now working to track down the owner of the property and bring those responsible for managing the illegal HMO to justice.
Residents were able to identify the house as a possible unlicensed HMO from several tell-tale signs: many people coming and going from the house, people smoking outside, overflowing rubbish bins, mismatching curtains, an overgrown front garden and neglected disrepairs to the front of the property.
From June 1, an extension of the selective licensing scheme will require all landlords with properties in Dudden Hill, Kensal Green, Kilburn, Mapesbury and Queen's Park electoral wards to be licensed in addition to the current legislation that requires all HMOs to be licenced.
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