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BBC Panorama blames councils AND landlords for Britain's housing crisis

panorama|lord best

A council and housing association attracted as much criticism as private landlords in a Panorama investigation on the topic, ‘What’s gone wrong with our housing?’

Last night’s BBC1 programme initially talked about “greedy landlords cashing in” at the Bampton Estate in south London but also flagged up problems experienced by tenants in the council’s own properties as well as those in housing association flats.

Landlord Joel Zwiebel, who owns four properties on the estate, refused to answer questions about long-term disrepair at his rental homes – all converted into six-room HMOs.

It highlighted how he was charging at least £900 for each of these rooms a month, bringing in an income of £250,000 a year – but not properly sorting out mould and leaks. Zwiebel has previously illegally evicted a tenant who complained.

Chairman of the Affordable Housing Commission, Lord Best, declared: “It was to get rid of these slum landlords that we created social housing – the wheel has turned full circle and it’s like the Victorian slums of yesteryear.”

However, Panorama pointed to problems at homes on the estate owned by housing association L&Q; 11 tenants were unhappy but didn’t want to complain on camera about damp and mould, lighting not working and broken heating.

Decent homes

L&Q told the programme it had completed almost 2,000 jobs across the estate, and that its survey found all but two properties met the decent homes criteria.

One man who lived in a council-owned home on the estate had bad mould for two years which Lewisham has just painted over.

According to the programme, the authority had a budget of £1m for repairs last year but three-quarters went on legal fees and compensation. It insists it’s working to address these problems and that an extra £1m will be spent fixing them this year.

The programme summed up: “Forty years of housing policy has left estates in crisis, with people paying more to live in worse conditions.”

Pic credit: BBC


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