A dawn raid on an “unsafe” house in multiple occupation (HMO) served as a timely reminder that landlords have a responsibility to protect their tenants.

Enforcement officers from Brent Council discovered that ten people had been sleeping in what was originally a three-bed semi-detached home in Wembley.

Part of an overall crackdown on poorly managed HMOs, officers want to remind people that new government regulations will mean that, from October, all privately-rented properties housing five or more people who are not all related will need a mandatory licence.

This unlicensed house, in Carlton Avenue East, was in a state of disrepair, with electrical faults, no fire doors and no fire detection system in place.

Spencer Randolph, head of private housing services at Brent Council, said: “The people living in this house are handing over more than £30,000 a year in rent and in return they are being short changed with unsafe living conditions.

“It's not acceptable that private tenants paying decent rents should be exploited and put in danger by unprofessional landlords and agents.

“We brought in licensing to deal with just these sorts of issues and to give us more powers to take a robust approach against rogue landlords.

“If you're letting out a property in Brent, you need to be sure who's living in it and ensure it is properly managed and maintained.

“If it needs a licence, apply for one now before we catch you and hit you with a hefty fine and even a criminal record.”

Officers are working to track down the owner of the property and bring those responsible for managing the illegal HMO to justice.

In addition to the mandatory HMO licensing structure, Brent is set for an extension to its selective licensing scheme.

From June 1, all landlords with properties in Dudden Hill, Kensal Green, Kilburn, Mapesbury and Queen’s Park electoral wards will need to be licensed.

When this decision was announced, Cllr Harbi Farah, responsible for housing and welfare reform at Brent Council, said: “This is great news for thousands more of Brent residents.

“The council is driving up housing standards in the private rented sector and cracking down on rogue landlords.

“We are hoping that the government will agree to extend selective licensing across more wards in the near future.”