Police and council raid Rainham property and find 12 people living illegally inside
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:16 27 February 2019
Police and council workers raided a property in Rainham and found 12 people living in an illegal HMO (House of multiple occupation).
The property in New Road was targeted by police and council officers in the early hours of Friday, February 8 and following an investigation the council found the tenant was illegally sub-letting the property as an HMO.
According to the council the house was in a dangerous condition, and it will now be handed back to the freeholders following its closure.
Councillor Viddy Persaud, cabinet member for public protection, said: “Following a raid on the premises, we found the owner had been renting the property out for commercial activity and the tenant was subsequently found to be illegally sub-letting the property as a house of multiple occupancy [HMO], which was in a dangerous condition.
“The property will be handed back to the freeholders following closure of the premises.
“Under the council’s Landlord Licensing scheme, we will continue to crack down on those landlords who are taking advantage of local families and individuals by operating overcrowded and poorly maintained HMO properties.
“This action was a great example of working in partnership with others, including the police and London Fire Brigade, as we look to help protect and enable tenants to live safely in private rented accommodation in our borough.”
Councillor Graham Williamson of South Hornchurch ward, where the property is, told the Recorder: “Residents suspected for a long time that illegal activities were taking place on site.
“Originally it was being used as a place of worship despite the council turning it down due a lack of parking.
“It got so serious that enforcement notices had to be raised. I was utterly shocked however when officers realised, whilst trying to close down the illegal operation, that the building was also being used as an unregistered HMO.”
“If only a minority of HMO’s are presently registered with the council, is this to avoid the fee or is it because living conditions are so atrocious they could never be permitted? I fear that it is more the latter and this case may just be the tip of the iceberg!”