The Times today is doing a heart-rending expose of modern slums, slum landlords and the links between these landlirds and donations to the Tory party.
There is a heart-breaking story of one such young mother living with her sick and asthmatic 6 year-old young son in the most appalling conditions in a flat in Croydon – placed there by Waltham Forest council, which is 20 miles away. They pay £800 per month for her to exist there – one cannot say “live”. Conditions worthy of the very worst Victorian slums.
In a second article, the newspaper looks further into the types of properties and their landlords and the loopholes that allow them to benefit from these apalling places. They find:
“The developers have exploited a change in planning rules to convert offices into hundreds of flats without any minimum size requirements, prompting claims from experts that they are building “some of the worst homes in Britain” and the “slums of the future”.
Flats costing £800 a month are as small as 14 square meters (150 sq ft), barely bigger than the size of a typical parking space.
Families are living on industrial estates and alongside busy roads, with some residents claiming that mould, noise and anti-social behaviour inside the buildings are damaging their health.”
They then go on to turn the spotlight on three such landlords:
“ Caridon, a property group founded by Mario Carrozzo, receives at least £8 million in housing benefit payments to house hundreds of tenants in flats as small as one-third of the minimum size which would be required under the planning regime;
Joel Weider, the owner of a double glazing company, has converted office space in Leicester, Aylesbury and south London, including flats branded a “hell-hole” by an MP;
A third developer, Anwar Ansari, a former eye surgeon, rents small studio, one and two-bed flats to tenants, including a former office block which has been cited for fire safety breaches.
A change in permitted development rights introduced in 2013 means that developers do not have to adhere to normal planning standards when converting offices into residential housing.”
A further article goes on to look at how much money these “developers” are raking in:
Mario Carrozzo’s sprawling Surrey mansion was once owned by a Premier League footballer and boasts a tennis court, indoor swimming pool and cinema. The £6 million home has three sitting rooms, a gym, spa and games room with bar. It is a far cry from the tiny flats his property empire is built on.
Caridon Group flats are among the smallest in the country, with some measuring 14 square metres (150sq ft). Three of these flats would fit into Mr Carrozzo’s cinema room.
The conversions include Token House in Croydon, where the smallest flats are 15sq m (160sq ft). In one, a sofa and bed fill the flat. The rent is almost £800 a month. “I can open my fridge and make a cup of tea or answer the door while I’m still lying in my bed,” one tenant said. …
Located in a south London industrial estate with lorries passing near by, a former office building has become home to dozens of people including families. Many of those living in Connect House’s 86 flats, some of which are only 14sq m (150sq ft), have belongings piled up in suitcases and boxes because of a lack of space. Residents have reported breathing problems and rashes which they claim have been caused by damp and mould. The smell of cannabis fills the corridors. A bag with traces of a white powder lies discarded.
The developer behind it is Joel Weider, the owner of a double glazing company who bought the property for £3.1 million in 2015. …
AA Homes and Housing is owned by a Labour donor, Anwar Ansari, 59, and has property holdings worth more than £170 million. Dr Ansari trained in London as an eye surgeon but is now a full-time developer.
AA Homes and Housing is behind at least five big office-to-residential conversions and rents mainly to private tenants. The flats are generally larger than those created by Caridon and Mr Weider but are often still below space guidelines set out by the government.
The company owns a five-storey former NatWest office building in Croydon. A previous owner had sought permission to convert it into 34 flats but Dr Ansari squeezed in an extra 20. In 2017, the fire service issued an enforcement notice over safety concerns including a locked fire escape, poor ventilation and defective fire doors. The company was also fined £20,000 for failing to secure a landlord licence for 36 of the building’s privately rented flats. It is contesting all of these findings.
Dr Ansari and his wife Hina live in a sprawling estate near Caterham, Surrey. …”