A London-based landlord raked in over £12,000 in housing benefit whilst exploiting his vulnerable tenants.
Mustafa Kemal Mustafa is the subject of a BBC panorama investigation which revealed a squalid single terraced property decked out with bunk beds and mattresses with over 40 people in residence.
Each year more than £9 billion of taxpayers’ money goes to private landlords with much of it in the form of housing benefit. Rogue landlords can make millions off the system, putting tenants lives at risk in unsafe and overcrowded homes.
Mr Mustafa owns a portfolio of properties in south London with one property being shut down by the local council in an emergency evacuation last year. The council moved in when it was discovered that the electricity supply had been hotwired and that the house was dangerously overcrowded.
On the night the council came knocking, 23 people were found living at the property with an estimated 40 in residence at some time in the previous year.
Roz Spencer, who coordinates Lewisham’s Rogue Landlord Taskforce is quoted as saying: “This is a nationwide problem but in London it’s extreme because of the housing market.” An official taskforce to tackle rogue landlords was set up by The Department of Communities and Local Government in 2013.
The taskforce was meant to catch landlords who were illegally renting outbuildings and unsuitable accommodation to migrant workers. But in a recent parliamentary answer, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis admitted the new task force has not had a single meeting.
It is now left for local authorities to act alone in regional hunts for rogue landlords using a “rent to rent” model, buying cheap from the freeholder and then packing tenants in like sardines to maximise profit.
Experts believe the expansion of “Right to Buy” has aggravated the shortage in social housing, made worse by the Conservative government planning to expand the scheme further to housing association tenants.
Mr Mustafa has been approached by a number of newspapers for comment but has yet to respond.