Hundreds of Newham landlords prosecuted

Missing tiles from kitchen in St Bartholomew's Road, East Ham

Missing tiles from kitchen in St Bartholomew's Road, East Ham - Credit: Archant

Nearly 500 people have been prosecuted in Newham’s war against rogue landlords, according to new figures revealed by the council.

Ceiling in Waterloo Road, Upton Park

Ceiling in Waterloo Road, Upton Park - Credit: Archant

Altogether, 611 prosecutions have been carried out against 492 landlords between January 2013, when the council’s licensing scheme was introduced, to August 14, last week.

The figures were released following a raid on August 10, when a tenant told a police officer that he was allegedly being charged £500 per month to rent a bedroom big enough to fit only a mat to sleep on and a few extra furnishings.

The landlord of the three-bedroom house, in East Ham, is now under investigation, after officers allegedly discovered ten bed spaces in five rooms, including a loft.

This raid took place just seven weeks after 26 people –including 25 adults and one child – were discovered to be living in a three-bedroom East Ham property, which was only licensed to hold a maximum of seven people.

Russell Moffatt, private housing operations manager, said: “Newham Council has been proactive at rooting out the worst landlords who make the lives of their tenants miserable by placing them into poor quality accommodation.

“We have carried out the highest number of housing prosecutions compared to any other local authority in our bid to push up standards.”

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Between 2011 and 2014, the council undertook 359 housing prosecutions – the highest compared to other London local authorities.

The council with the second highest number of prosecutions was Haringey with 57.

Mr Moffatt explained that 25 landlords have also been banned from operating in Newham, adding: “They have been forced to either sell up or hand over their properties to a reputable management organisation to look after their tenants properly.”

Altogether, the council has collected £512,500 additional council tax from properties that have been illegally operating as Houses of Multiple Occupation.

Since June 2012, Newham Council has issued 35,501 property licences.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “It’s vital that councils like us flush out the landlords who take advantage of the current housing crisis by turning terraced houses into crammed bedsits, replacing living rooms with bedrooms and creating dodgy flats.

“We were the first council to introduce borough-wide private rented sector licensing because we saw the increasing need to reclaim the rental market from criminal landlords, protect what can often be vulnerable tenants and assist distressed neighbours living next to overflowing homes.

“We are not afraid of exploring every avenue to drive up housing standards, including banning the landlords from operating in Newham, to ensure that our residents feel safe and happy living in the borough.”