A series of raids by Barking and Dagenham Council have revealed dozens of tenants living in squalid, cramped and dangerous conditions paying thousands of pounds a month to rip-off landlords.
In one three-bedroom house in Sherwood Gardens officers found 11 people including two children living there with blocked fire escape routes and out of action smoke alarms.
And in another property illegally converted into bedsits in Upney Lane, Barking, 10 tenants were paying around £600 each for a room.
Councillor Laila Butt, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety, said: “Rip-off landlords are the scourge of London.
“I can assure our residents that we will be relentless in our determination to stand up for standards and drive out these criminal landlords.”
Elsewhere in the raids which took place last Thursday, officers also found nine people including two families of three paying up to £900 each living in a four bedroom bungalow in Gay Gardens.
And in Western Avenue, Dagenham, five men were living in a three bedroom house.
Officers said each bedroom was locked and had no smoke alarms. They said the garden was filled with rubbish and had a bed frame in it.
Last week’s raid were latest in a total of one hundred operations carried by Barking and Dagenham Council over the last two years.
The operations by the council’s Private Rented Sector Team resulted in 25 landlords taken through the Magistrates Court.
It enforces the council’s borough-wide private rental property licensing scheme – one of only two in the country.
Since the scheme has been operating they have:
- Brought over 400 unlicensed properties into the licensing regime
- Received 12,000 license applications
- Inspected 10,500 of these properties
- 280 Enforcement Notices served on landlords requiring housing standards to be improved
- Prevented over 20 illegal evictions by criminal landlords who were not licensed