East Ham landlord under investigation for renting out ‘mat room’

Police said this room had an asking price of £500 per month. Picture: @MPSNewham via Twitter

Police said this room had an asking price of £500 per month. Picture: @MPSNewham via Twitter - Credit: @MPSNewham via Twitter

A landlord is being investigated after he was caught allegedly charging £500 per month to rent a tiny bedroom with a only a mat to sleep on and a few furnishings.

Officers from Newham Council visited the three-bedroom house in East Ham on Monday morning, alongside police, as part of a routine operation.

The property had been added to the council’s visit list after the landlord failed to provide documentation – required under Newham’s Licensing Scheme – including tenancy agreements as well as gas and electrical safety systems certificates.

During the visit, officers discovered ten bed spaces in five rooms, including a loft, that were being used as bedrooms.

One tenant told police that he was being charged £500 per month to sleep in one of the rooms, with only a mat for a mattress.

Andrew Baikie, Newham Council’s mayoral advisor for housing, said: “Our pioneering private rented sector licensing scheme is using council data to hone in on landlords who are exploiting tenants by cramming them into houses to make a quick profit.

“During a joint operation with the police on Monday we found a three-bedroom property in East Ham with evidence of ten sleeping areas, including a mat.

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“We are still investigating but this landlord can expect to hear from us in the near future about potential breaches of housing regulations and licensing laws.”

Newham Council introduced the Licensing Scheme in January 2013 and have since issued 23,073 landlords with a licence for 33,790 properties.

A council spokeswoman said 593 prosecutions of 482 landlords have been carried out for failure to licence, providing poor quality housing and failing to comply with licence conditions, since the scheme was introduced.

She also explained that 25 landlords have been banned from operating in Newham because they do not conform to the “fit and proper” test under housing legislation.

Det Insp Phil Stinger, who took a picture of the room with the mat and posted it on Newham police’s Twitter account, said: “Multiple occupancy houses can generate increases in demand on both the police and local services as they often house a hidden population, many of whom are in the UK illegally.

“We carry out weekly joint visits to addresses and deal with properties that generate high levels of anti-social behaviour and crime, whilst targeting landlords who are taking advantage of their tenants.”

Have you or someone you know experienced anything like this as a tenant in Newham? Call the newsdesk on 020 8477 3900 or email seema.hakim@archant.co.uk to speak with a reporter.