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Dawn raids reveal ‘Dickensian’ conditions in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 15:30 02 February 2016

Officers discovered overcrowding at Bower House, Whiting Avenue, Barking. Four people were found living in the three bedroom property but mattresses in the living room suggested there were more.

Officers discovered overcrowding at Bower House, Whiting Avenue, Barking. Four people were found living in the three bedroom property but mattresses in the living room suggested there were more.

Archant

Rogue landlords are to be “driven out” after dawn raids revealed a string of overcrowded properties.

A baby was among more than 50 adults and children living in “Dickensian conditions” in seven houses across Barking and Dagenham.

Trading Standards is also investigating the Bull pub in Rainham Road South, where three adults and one child under the age of 10 were found living in filthy conditions with dangerous wiring.

“We will not accept these appalling Dickensian conditions,” said council leader Darren Rodwell following the operation.

“We have standards in Barking and Dagenham, and we will not relent in our determination to uphold them. This will include driving out these exploitative landlords from our borough.”

In Dagenham, 17 adults were discovered living with nine children in three bedrooms and one living room in School Road. A double bed had been set up in the back room/kitchen, while in Crescent Road, seven adults were found living in three rooms and a living room.

In Barking, officers found a baby among the total of five adults and four children in three rooms in Rosslyn Road.

At Bower House in Whiting Avenue, officers found four people living in a three bedroom property. Mattresses in the living room suggested there were more occupants. An overcrowded property was also found in Adelaide Gardens, Chadwell Heath.

The raids follow an announcement by the government to give the council £250,000 to tackle rogue landlords. Barking and Dagenham and Newham councils are the only two in the country to run a borough-wide private landlord licensing scheme.

“This money is helpful,” said Cllr Laila Butt, cabinet member for crime and enforcement.

“But the problem is London’s ludicrous housing and rental market, which is why we have exploitative, rogue landlords making a mint out of other’s misery.”

The private landlord licensing team will be pursuing all the landlords with a view to prosecute.


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