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Councils uses dawn raids in clampdown on sublets and beds in sheds

A London council is using dawn raids in its clampdown on illegal subletting and on so-called ‘beds in sheds’ where tenants are kept in overcrowded conditions.

A team of five enforcement officers from Brent council earlier this week staged a dawn raid on a property and found 11 rooms, some of which had no windows, inside a converted property housing tenants in makeshift bedsits.

Many of the rooms contained mould, damp and disrepairs due to cooking and toiletry facilities that had been crammed inside an inadequate space.

The property was unlicensed and had no working fire safety system, blocked fire escape routes and health hazards created by poor ventilation inside the rooms.

Tenancy agreements showed that some of the residents were paying £600 a month for the substandard accommodation, allowing the landlord potentially to rake in £6,600 a month from the 11 rooms.

The landlord, who arrived at the property while the inspection was ongoing, told enforcement officers that he wasn't aware that he needed a licence. 

All landlords in the borough with houses in multiple occupation renting a property out to three or more unrelated people, even if they are on a single tenancy, are legally required to obtain a licence from Brent council.

The council’s campaign has seen rogue landlords pay more than £600,000 in fines since January 2016.

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