Westminster Labour Councillors have called on Westminster City Council to take action against the landlord of a former Council flat in Coleridge House, Churchill Gardens, Pimlico.
The two bed former Council property is rented by the Council from a private landlord and used by the Council as temporary accommodation to house a vulnerable single-parent family with three children with special needs. The rent is £500 per week and is paid for by Housing Benefit.
In July 2014 the property was inspected by the Council’s Environmental Health officers. That inspection found various hazards, including exploding electrical appliances and sockets which pose a serious risk to the residents. Other problems at the flat include mould and damp, the front door has no proper locks and bolts have to be used to keep the door secure. Over the past two months these problems have got worse as the landlord took no remedial steps to repair the problems.
Labour Councillors are calling for the Council to issue an Enforcement Notice on the landlord to require him to do repair these problems without further delay.
Councillor Murad Gassanly, Labour Councillor for Churchill Ward, said;
“The issue here is that this was a council home once. Now it is a slum, and a private landlord is milking the system by renting what was a public property back to the Council at full market rate rent, whilst neglecting the property, ignoring Council requests, and mistreating the residents. On top of this, the flat is not suitable or liveable and is a danger to the residents and their neighbours due to fire hazard.
“Whilst many Westminster landlords, working with the Council, are socially responsible partners, there are unfortunately some who abuse their position. We call for robust action against these bad landlords. It is a scandal that former council flats are used to milk the Housing Benefit system and exploit local authorities. It is even more disturbing when bad landlords neglect their properties allowing them to fall into disrepair. By ignoring their responsibilities these bad landlords are putting residents’ health and wellbeing at risk. Westminster Council must do more to ensure stringent adherence to our health and environmental safety standards.”