News

Dawn raid on slum flat in Burnt Oak uncovers men crammed into appalling conditions

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - Brent Council

Brent council officers discovered men living mattress to mattress inside a run-down flat above a commercial premises during a dawn raid last week.

Police and licensing enforcement officers entered the converted one-bedroom flat in Burnt Oak shortly before 6am following complaints from neighbours about the number of people hanging around outside the property.

Brent Council housing enforcement raid 2017

Officers found 16 men crammed inside three rooms chock-full with bunkbeds made out of bits of wooden pallets. The tenants were sleeping seven, five and four to each room.  Some of the men claimed not to have any contact with the landlord of the unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Brent Council housing enforcement raid 2017

Photo: shocking conditions found outside Burnt Oak rented flat 

Spencer Randolph, Head of Housing Services, said:

"These tenants are being exploited and forced to live in appalling conditions by a landlord who has no regard for their safety. They are living in a fire trap that is uninhabitable, grossly overcrowd and insanitary. People renting in the private sector in Brent are entitled to live in homes that are safe and well-managed."

An investigation is now under way to track down the identity of the landlord. Some of the tenants said that they had only been living in the property for a few days.

Cllr Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said:

"It is not acceptable for residents to live in such sub-standard conditions. Safety measures in the home should be a priority for letting agencies and landlords. A HMO licence helps protect tenants against rogue landlords and reduces antisocial behaviour in residential areas."

Brent Council video showing conditions inside the flat

Willesden ‘Rent to Rent’ landlord fined thousands for unlicensed property 

Meanwhile, Brent Council say they have exceeded 100 housing prosecutions since the start of their enforcement crackdown.

Their latest prosecution involved a tenant who was illegally sub-letting the property without the landlord’s knowledge or consent.
 
Artur Zurvskij was found guilty of illegally subletting a five bedroom house in Hanover Road, Willesden to seven tenants.
 
Instead of securing a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence from Brent Council, Mr Zurvskij - director of Skyline Property Management; a name he later changed to Enox UK Ltd - rented out the property from Ludlow Thompson letting agency.
 
The owner of the property, who lived in the United States and had legally handed over control of his property to Ludlow Thompson, believed that the property was being rented out by a single family.
 
During the trial, Willesden Magistrates Court heard that Mr Zurvskij had not sought written permission from the landlord to rent out the house to more than one household. He was ordered to pay £2,250 in fines, while his company, Enox UK Ltd, was slapped with a £8,000 fine.
 
For more information on the property licensing rules in Brent, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/brent or you can visit the council’s website.  

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