Following a string of complaints about excessive noise and questionable hygiene, housing inspectors in Harrow swooped down to check up on a modest three-bedroom house. It was known to be let to tenants, but instead of a family, the inspectors found 30 people living there.
The incredible scene when housing inspectors stumbled on people sleeping on mattresses inside the property and in the garden was captured on camera for Channel 5’s show, Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords. The program makers are used to seeing all manner of horrific scenarios, but even they were shocked by the atrocious living conditions.
Piles of Mattresses in Every Room
There were piles of mattresses in every room and a resident told the team that 15 people were living there. However, during the filming, a truck pulled up and dumped more mattresses at the house. It turned out that there were a lot more people out in the garden, sleeping on the bare ground while they waited for more mattresses to arrive.
“It’s the classic case, mattresses on top of each other, so they line them up, that’s how they fit so many people in,” says Ozge Albayrak.
Housing officer Albayrak contacts the agent responsible for the property as soon as she realises the scale of the issue. The agent jumps into action and within three months the extra tenants have been evicted and a single family is living in the property. However, it isn’t long before more people begin moving back into the house, triggering further complaints.
Managing Agent Faces Prosecution
Albayrak tells the program makers that the managing agent will be prosecuted for their part in the debacle.
Sadly, this is not an isolated case.
The government estimates that there are more than 100,000 rogue landlords operating in the UK, capitalising on demand for cheap rental accommodation.
Reporting Slum Landlords
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Hardworking housing inspectors rely on the general public to inform them when landlords are not playing by the rules. So, if you know of a rental property in your area that appears to be overcrowded, ring your local housing department and suggest they drop by.
As housing officer Albayrak says, it is an “unacceptable way for people to live”.