Redbridge raids expose rogue renting

Published: 12 February 2018

Multiple raids at locations across the borough have caught out rogue sub-letters who have been illegally renting out properties as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

Redbridge Council’s Property Licensing team and Councillor Farah Hussain paid an early morning visit to the Gants Hill property alleged to be operating as an unlicensed HMO.  

Magistrates had issued a warrant to enter the property which was found to be in poor condition with clear fire safety and electrical safety hazards and enforcement action will now follow.

This multi-agency raid on the morning of Tuesday 6 February came after several reports of large numbers of people living in the property which alerted the officers that it might be operating as HMO – homes occupied by three or more people who are not related and share facilities. 

We’re working hard to crack down on unlicensed properties, and in the last week have raided six properties alleged to be illegally sublet and overcrowded in the Barkingside, Clayhall, Hainault, and Newbury wards.

Of the six properties searched, four were found to be overcrowded and operating illegally as HMOs.

They all lacked adequate fire precaution measures and adequate kitchen facilities for the number of tenants. Some rooms used for sleeping were small and overcrowded and others had electrical issues largely due to the overuse of the electrical installations.

The person who has been subletting the properties has been identified and they will be required to attend an interview under caution at the Council’s offices, with further enforcement action possible. 

Councillor Farah Hussain, Cabinet Member for Housing, said, “We implemented property licensing to protect our most vulnerable tenants. These poor quality overcrowded properties are unsafe and the effects of living in these conditions will have a long term impact on the health of the occupants. I was shocked to see the conditions that some people live in and I’m angry that somebody is making money from them.

“In Redbridge we want to encourage good landlords who provide good quality homes for their tenants. However, we intend on driving criminal landlords from the borough and this operation I went on and our success with a £97,445 Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act against a criminal landlord last week shows our determination to do that. Our proposed selective licencing in an additional twelve wards will go a step further in helping us create a standard for these rentals hot spot areas, so I’m calling on the Secretary of State to approve our application for this licensing and help us to stamp out rogue landlords.”

All HMOs need to be licensed in Redbridge and there are severe financial penalties of up to £30,000 or prosecution for operating without a licence.

By getting a licence Landlords can avoid:
• being issued with a civil penalty of up to £30,000 or facing prosecution in a magistrates court with an unlimited fine
• being subject to forfeiting any profits made while renting the property illegally
• being required to repay the rent to whoever paid it

Residents can report unlicensed properties by calling the Council’s hotline on 020 8708 4845 or emailing prslicensing@redbridge.gov.uk

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