The local paper had news of a raid in three properties in Strode Road where ten suspected illegal immigrants were arrested. Most were said to be Chinese and Filipino nationals. The properties were said to house dozens of people, including many families, living in a maze of bedrooms and bungalows illegally erected in the back garden. There was therefore serious overcrowding and while occupants had made efforts to keep their spaces clean and tidy they were a potential death trap. Someone was making large amounts of rent and exploiting these people. They probably relied on the tenants not speaking of their poor housing as their illegal status would be discovered. Previously the premises had been used as a workshop for duplicating videos and cassettes – another scam for the landlord. Crimes such as trafficking and cramming people into accommodation such as this is a form of exploitation we must guard against.
Have recently read an article by Tom Lloyd in the journal “Inside Housing” and was very alarmed to discover that Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, is overturning rules governing houses in multiple occupation. This means that landlords could change the status of a property from a standard house to a house in multiple occupation without seeking planning permission, reversing changes in the Town and Country Planning Order 2010, which were introduced by the Labour government in April last year, shortly before the general election. This appears to me to be a gift to landlords which many do not deserve. It is said that councils will still be able to require landlords to seek planning permission to create a HMO in areas where such properties are deemed to be a problem. This has to be true of Brent.