Please Note: This Article is 8 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

Exploitative landlords were under the microscope this week, after a plane used thermal imaging to route out ‘beds in sheds’ across the borough of Harrow. The plane used technology to examine 75 suspect developments based on complaints from neighbours.

But the aerial photos revealed that instead of 75 suspicious buildings, there were actually 319 – housing a possible underground community of more than 1,000 in just one borough.

According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), what was once thought to be a problem for the centre of big cities, is now rippling out to the suburbs. Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC comments:

“The pressures of migration in London, fuelled by recent waves of new arrivals from Eastern Europe, is creating an unprecedented demand for housing. Unscrupulous landlords are cashing in, converting garages and outbuildings and offering them to vulnerable prospective tenants.”

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“Thousands of sheds and outbuildings are rented out illegally and those living in in them have to put up with high rents and primitive conditions. We have been appalled at the conditions and rent being charged for outbuildings like garages and sheds.

It is a scandal that these back garden slums exist to exploit people who are trapped into paying extortionate rents to live in extremely cramped conditions. Criminal landlords are trapping vulnerable people in ‘suburban shanty-towns’.

“Landlords could face a raft of both civil and criminal charges including tax fraud, profiteering from illegal immigrants and allowing people to live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.”

The recent lift of immigration restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians on January 1 and a net increase in migration to the UK of 212,000 between September 2012 and September last year has led to concerns that problem will get worse.”

The AIIC is a not for profit membership organisation and is committed to excellence and professionalism in the property inventory process. The AIIC works hard to ensure that all landlords, tenants and letting agents understand the importance and benefits of professionally completed property inventories.

For further information on AIIC, please visit

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks was established in 1996

The aim of the AIIC is to ensure that every landlord, tenant and agent in the UK is aware of the importance of the inventory process and the benefits of employing an independent, professional independent inventory clerk.

Please Note: This Article is 8 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


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