Councils, Housing Associations, and Landlords Accused of Fueling UK’s Housing Crisis

An investigation by BBC Panorama into Britain’s housing crisis points fingers at councils, housing associations, and private landlords, revealing issues in properties across the spectrum. The report, titled ‘What’s gone wrong with our housing?’, exposes the flaws in the housing system.

The investigation initially focused on the Bampton Estate in South London, where “greedy landlords” were accused of taking advantage of tenants. One such landlord, Joel Zwiebel, owns four properties on the estate, each converted into six-room HMOs. Zwiebel was found to be charging at least £900 per month for each room, yielding an annual income of £250,000, while failing to address long-standing issues like mould and leaks. He has also been known to illegally evict tenants who complain.

Lord Best, Chairman of the Affordable Housing Commission, expressed his disappointment in the findings, stating that social housing was created to eliminate the problem of slum landlords. He compared the current situation to the Victorian slums of the past.

The Panorama investigation also revealed issues with properties owned by housing association L&Q on the same estate. Eleven tenants reported dissatisfaction with their living conditions, including dampness, mould, non-functioning lighting, and broken heating systems. The tenants chose not to voice their complaints on camera.

L&Q responded to the allegations, stating that they had completed nearly 2,000 jobs across the estate and that their survey indicated all but two properties met the decent homes criteria.

Additionally, a council-owned property on the estate was found to have severe mould issues that were simply painted over by Lewisham council. The council reportedly had a £1m budget for repairs last year, but three-quarters of that sum was spent on legal fees and compensation. The council claims it is working to resolve these issues and plans to invest an additional £1m in repairs this year.

BBC Panorama’s report concludes that four decades of housing policy have resulted in estates facing a crisis, as tenants are forced to pay more for subpar living conditions.