Brent Council in north London will be taking action against a buy-to-let landlord who is accused of “exploiting tenants” after 17 men were found living in a three-bedroom terrace house in Coles Green Road, Dollis Hill, during a dawn raid yesterday.
Enforcement officers forced entry into the house on Thursday where they discovered overcrowded, unsafe and illegal housing conditions, including mould that covered the walls of one of the makeshift bedrooms on the ground floor. None of the smoke alarms in the property was in working order.
The men were paying £50 a week to a head tenant in order to sleep on mattrsses in the property, as well as gain access to the single bathroom and kitchen in the house.
Following the raid, which came about after a tip-off about a suspected unlicensed HMO, Spencer Randolph, head of private housing services, commented: "We've seen illegal sublets try to pass the buck on who is responsible for exploiting vulnerable tenants. The bottom line is that we will hold rogue landlords and subletters responsible for breaking licensing laws, and we'll take prosecutions against both.
"Running illegal, unlicensed properties can land landlords and subletters in court. If found guilty, they'll be subject to unlimited fines and a criminal conviction."
Licensing laws for small HMOs have been extended in Brent for a further five years.