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Problem of Rogue Landlords Highlighted by Recent London Raids

October 22, 2015
Housing

Recent raids by council officers and police in East London have once again raised the issue of rogue landlords. Officers in Dagenham discovered 51 people living in four houses, with one landlord found to be making £4,000 a month from 10 tenants.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, council leader in Barking and Dagenham was appalled by the findings. “To be frank about it, it’s a horrible blight on London in the 21st century when we are going back to Dickensian times,” He said. “They are rogue landlords preying on people’s vulnerability. It’s grime crime and it’s money at all costs. The landlords are just one step up from human traffickers quite frankly. They are counting on people’s plight and that’s not acceptable.”

Around a third of the properties in Barking and Dagenham are private lets, with another third owned by the local authority or housing associations. The borough is one of two local authorities in London that currently operate a licensing scheme for private landlords.

Earlier this year a report by the Citizens Advice Bureau suggested that private landlords are taking an estimated £5.6 billion a year from homes that do not meet legal standards. The report stated that 740,000 families are living in privately rented homes that present a severe threat to occupant’s health. Research by the Times newspaper has suggested that 25% of councils have failed to take prosecutions against private landlords for providing unsafe accommodation in the past five years.