An enforcement team targeting overcrowding, discovered twenty-six bunk beds in a four-bedroom house in Wembley. Those living there were mostly migrants. They say that despite the appalling conditions, it's the only way they can afford to live in the capital.
It’s a four-bedroom house, and a team of enforcement officers have arrived at dawn to look inside. What they find is shocking. There are 26 beds.
How many people live in this room, sir? 1, 2, 3 bunk beds, six sleeping spaces…
Another four more in this tiny room.
You pay £55…
£65 per week each.
It was time for the enforcement team to do some maths. What might the landlord earn from this one property in Wembley?
We think there are up to 26 people living in this property, paying somewhere between £60 and £65 a week so we’re looking at an income on this property of around £1,500 a week, which is around £80,000 a year income.
But there was even more to come. Outside, inspectors found a shack, and inside, two more beds and a woman living here, who wasn’t happy with the conditions.
So you can’t stand the mice and the rats scurrying around midnight.
Dreadful, isn’t it, to think that somebody can be exploited to living in what isn’t even a shed, it’s a lean-to.
So how many people might be living in conditions like this across London? Well, Brent Council has a ready prosecuted 30 landlord in a year, and taking in other councils there have been at least 300 raids in 12 months. This house in Kingsbury has now been boarded up. Inside, inspectors found 17 beds. The men living here, thought to be Romanian, have now moved on. In Harrow, there's another four-bedroomed house, not quite so crowded. Until recently 13 people, mainly from Hungary, had been living here, but they are not happy. One of the tenants has armed himself with a baseball bat.
Because I’m gonna protect ourselves.
The tenants here claim their landlord gave them just two weeks’ notice to get out and when they objected, two strange men turned up outside the property.
Walking up and down, punching in the air.
Just jumping around, preparing to the fight.
Harrow Council has now warned the landlord to respect tenants rights. He’s declined to comment, saying it’s going to court. The tenants say they have no choice but to live in conditions like these.
I think because this is the cheapest where you can find a room.
And back at that Wembley house with 26 beds, Bagarald told us he lives here because his job as a carer for the elderly pays so little.
I’m paid twenty pounds per day.
Meish works as a casual builder and downs sixty to eighty pounds a day but says even living here his life is better than back home in India.
This country is money. Our conditions is money.
The landlord here now faces prosecution, but without alternative very cheap accommodation, many thousands of low-paid workers may continue to live in similar conditions.
Gareth Furby, BBC London News.