Enforcement officers from Barking and Dagenham Council swooped on three addresses in east London last week as part of clamp down on rogue landlords.
Council officers, along with officers from the local estates’ police team, found 55 people including children living in the properties in Dagenham.
Councillor Laila Butt, cabinet member for crime and enforcement, said: “It’s unacceptable to have these almost Dickensian conditions in a world class city such as London.”
The raid was led by Barking and Dagenham Council’s private landlord team who run one of only two borough wide private landlord registry schemes in the country.
Cllr Butt said: “The vast majority of landlords are socially responsible and they have nothing to fear from our inspections.
“But those criminal landlords who are making a mint out of other people’s misery and London’s ridiculous rental market, are not welcome here and should clear out of Barking and Dagenham or face the consequences.”
In Fordyke Road officers discovered 22 people including four children in an illegally converted house with four bedrooms.
In Manor Road, officers found 18 people living in cramped and dangerous conditions including two children in six bedrooms – although the house was originally designed to hold three.
And in Japan Road there were 15 people, including five children, living in five rooms in what should be a three-bedroom house. Officers also discovered so-called bed in sheds outside.
In all three properties there were health and safety hazards, including illegal wiring and no fire precautions.
Officers are continuing their investigations with a view to prosecute the landlords while the cases have been referred to social services.
Seb Klier, policy manager of Generation Rent, said: "It's sickening to see such obscene overcrowding happening in London under our noses. Anyone coming to work in the UK should expect a minimum standard of accommodation for them and their children. We welcome Barking & Dagenham Council’s active enforcement of the law, but unfortunately we don’t know how widespread this is because so many councils don’t license their landlords."
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