The recession sure has a lot to answer for in the property market. In the last 12 months there has been a fifteen percent rise in the number of overcrowding cases that Landlord Action have had to deal with. London is the worst hit and, not surprisingly, the director of Landlord Action is blaming the economic downturn.
Paul Shamplina says “The most common cases appear to be organised gangs looking for an easy money making scam. They take out a tenancy and then sublet to multiple occupants. The worst case we have dealt with was a three bedroom, one bathroom, semi detached house in North London which was found to have had 53 occupants, all illegal immigrants.
He goes on to describe frankly horrifying conditions including mattresses stretching from wall to wall.
Other terrible cases he talks about are enough to send a shiver down any landlord’s spine, with one woman finding that 18 bunk beds had been put into her lovely property and it was being used as a youth hostel. A website in China was advertising a space in the flat for £20 a night.
Mr. Shamplina highly recommends caution if you are a landlord who finds their property being put to these kinds of uses. Clearly you will be outraged but approaching the sub tenants themselves and asking for payment may open you up to a legal nightmare.
Mr. Shamplina has a lot of good advice for landlords on how to avoid this situation, and I think it is worth spending a little time on so I shall elaborate in my next blog.