Hounslow Council Crack Down On 'Backyard Dwellings'

Use aerial photography to identify illegal properties

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More than 1,000 properties have been inspected by council officers as part of a campaign to crack down on rogue landlords letting out backyard dwellings.

A dedicated team of Hounslow Council, Police, London Fire Brigade and UKBA officers has been tackling the problem across the borough.

Using aerial photography, along with reports from residents and information from partner agencies, the team have identified a number of areas across the borough where there could be illegal dwellings.

Officers have been carrying out visits on a street-by-street basis, and have now visited 1,029 properties.

Cllr Steve Curran, cabinet member for housing and education who chairs the team overseeing the project, said: "In the majority of the places we’ve visited we have found buildings being used for valid purposes such as storage. We’re not convinced all of these won’t become occupied in future, so will be keeping an eye on matters.

"We are currently investigating or taking action against about 80 properties, and a couple have already voluntarily removed the domestic facilities.

"We are determined to tackle the blight on local communities caused by criminal landlords making a profit on the back of vulnerable people.

"The people who live in these conditions are trapped into thinking they have no choice, and can be paying hundreds of pounds to put up with cramped conditions, unsafe wiring and inadequate sanitation."

The team will continue to carry out the street-by-street visits throughout the summer.

To find out more about what the council is doing to tackle the problem of illegal dwellings, visit www.hounslow.gov.uk/illegaloutbuildings.

April 30, 2013