Owl says: Chances of this government legislating to stop this – zero. They couldn’t even pass a law saying rented housing should be habitable:
“Highly organised gangs of rogue landlords are making millions every year out of the housing benefit system by enticing desperate local authorities to place single homeless people in micro-flats in shoddily converted and dangerous former family homes.
Three-bed houses, where the maximum weekly housing benefit for flat-sharers is under £100 a person, are being converted into as many as six tiny self-contained studios – as little as 10 sq m in size. Each then qualifies for housing benefit of £181 a week, enabling a landlord to squeeze £56,000 a year in rent from a property on London’s fringes, all paid from public funds. The £56,000 compares with the typical £6,200 annual rent on a three-bed council house.
A previously unpublished government report into a £700,000 project to tackle the scam, released this week under freedom of information laws, shows that councils are struggling to contain the spread of the “lockdown” model, which has taken hold in at least 12 London boroughs since 2015.
It warns of “well organised but unscrupulous landlords” profiting despite some councils – including Hackney, Bexley and Greenwich – launching prosecutions, raids and prohibition orders. …”