No fewer than 31 people were found to be living in cramped conditions in a four bedroom house in north-west London this week.
The raid by Brent Council’s enforcement team, which was featured on BBC London News, found 26 beds crammed into filthy conditions in the house in Wembley, as well a bed in a rodent infested unheated garden shack made from wood offcuts, pallets and tarpaulins.
The property, which was occupied by migrants who said that they were unable to afford to live anywhere else, is owned by an unscrupulous landlord who now faces prosecution, a criminal record and an unlimited fine.
It is thought the sheer number of people in the house meant that the landlord was earning in the region of £80,000 a year in rent.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s lead member for housing, said: “We’ve seen pest-ridden slums and even beds in sheds before, but this is a new low. The shack looks like something you would expect to see in a Hollywood depiction of a shanty town, not Zone 4 of London. Criminal landlords cannot and will not get away with this.
“Our ground-breaking licensing scheme is helping us to tackle poor standards in the private rented sector and focus on the minority of unscrupulous landlords who refuse to comply with the law.
“The people who pay the heaviest price in the worst rogue landlord cases are their tenants, who pay over the odds for substandard accommodation and live in cramped, hazardous conditions. We will prosecute any landlord or agent we find treating their tenants in such a despicable way.”
Since the start of this year, the council has ramped up its enforcement activity, with between two to five prosecutions each week and many more expected in the coming months.