Officers from Lewisham council, the police, gas and electricity suppliers have mounted three raids on a total of 25 properties inside two weeks in a determined programme to crack down on ‘rogue’ landlords.
The raids uncovered:
- four new criminal landlords, all involved in high level tax evasion, with at least 50 properties between them
- three unauthorised structures to be demolished and a fourth outbuilding illegally used for residential
- an illegal conversion of a boarded-up restaurant into six substandard ‘studio’ flats
- five unlicensed houses in multiple occupation presenting critical health and safety hazards, including one severely overcrowded three-bedroom house occupied by 29 people
- unlicensed food preparation in a boarded-up restaurant
- 15 addresses with dangerous, stolen, unregistered utility meters
- two cannabis factories running on stolen electricity, posing serious fire risks.
Police acted immediately to take down the cannabis factories. A Lewisham council statement said: “Legal action will now follow which will result in: unsafe premises being closed down; hefty fines imposed on landlords involved in criminal activity; recouping public money and tenants’ deposits that has been fraudulently obtained; and landlords forced to bring their properties up to scratch.”
A Lewisham council spokesperson said: “If you are a tenant renting privately and need help please call the tenancy relations officer on
020 8314 8688 or 020 8314 8689.
“If you are a landlord email [email protected] or call 0208 3146733.”. (Source: Lewisham council press release).