Over the past 12 months Landlord Action, a company specialising in tenant eviction, has seen a 15% increase in the number of overcrowding cases they are dealing with. There were more cases in London than anywhere else in the country which, they believe, is a direct result of the recession.
Paul Shamplina, director and co-founder, explained, “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.
“Another case was of a lady who had a lovely two bedroom flat in Victoria. Her tenant paid six months up front but she later discovered that 18 sets of bunk beds had been put into her property and it was being used as a youth hostel. A website in China was offering students visiting London accommodation at £20 per night.”
Paul’s recommendation to landlords is to ensure that they have a good relationship with neighbours or caretakers so that anything untoward is brought to their attention as soon as possible.