Murky Depths

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Six families found living in one home on Eltham High street

Courtesy @MPSElthamSouth

Police in Eltham have conducted an operation today which discovered six families living in one home.

According to the police it was a joint operation with “Immigration officers, Council Environmental Health & HMO Officers on a Multi-occupancy address on Eltham High St. 6 whole families living in each bedroom. Landlord breaching everything going!”


It will be interesting to see what happens to the landlord and whether they face prosecution or a civil penalty.

Recently introduced rules mean that Local Authorities can now fine landlords up to £30,000 per offence. It would appear more than one has been committed here

Councils can also apply for a charge to be levied against a property. That means when a property is sold the council automatically receive a share of the sale equal to the value of the fine meaning landlords cannot do a runner and avoid paying.

Rent repayments

New rules also mean a rent repayment order can be issued. This means any housing benefit the landlord received must be repaid to the council. The scope of this power was widened in 2017. This is in addition to civil penalty fines of £30,000 per offence.

The list of causes to secure a rent repayment are:

  • Violence when securing entry
  • Eviction or harassment of tenants
  • Failure to comply with improvement notice
  • Failure to comply with prohibition order
  • Control or management of unlicensed HMO
  • Control or management of unlicensed house
  • Breach of banning order

Given the number of rogue landlords observed in inspections and the potential for greater income for local authorities undergoing cuts, it’s surprising that many councils have not used 2017 powers with more gusto.


  1. Mordan

    6 families in 1 house. Worst sitcom ever.

  2. Sadly I think this is a lot more common than people realise.

  3. Jo

    This begs the question of why far more fines aren’t handed out to slum landlords? A civil penalty in much easier and cheaper for councils than prosecution (the only previous option) and £30k per offence would see a very tidy sum would then improve housing across the area.

    It’d hardly be controversial as who would argue slum landlords deserve sympathy? Get them out of housing.

  4. Graham

    I agree these rogue landlords need to be punished. I would impose on the landlord concerned in this instance the £30K penalty for each of the six families living in the property.What he did is used vulnerable people to line his own pockets. He could have put these peoples danger as the property was overcrowded what would have made getting out of the property in an emergency so much harder and for what pure and simple greed!!

    Greenwich Council would then received £180Kin penalties from the landlord plus any money due under the rent repayment order for housing benefit paid to the landlord. Greenwich Council could the use this money to upgrade older council homes across the Borough not covered under the current housing regeneration schemes for larger council estates.

  5. anonymous201486

    It’s capitalism red in tooth and claw. As we have seen, both national and local government are reluctant to intervene in the ‘operation of the market’. Unscrupulous people are free to profit from the vulnerable and desparate.

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