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Housing crisis hits East End with threats of eviction by rogue landlords

PUBLISHED: 19:15 15 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:58 16 May 2014

Citizens UK election hustings at Queen Mary college

Citizens UK election hustings at Queen Mary college

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A looming housing crisis is about to hit London’s deprived East End, a community-led research analysis project has found.

Researchers at Queen Mary University fear Tower Hamlets is in “a battle against unaffordable rents, unethical landlords and uninhabitable housing conditions”, a packed local election hustings assembly was told.

Families are facing the brunt of the impact of rent rises and a lack of investment in affordable homes, says a report on the findings.

A list is included of action needed by Tower Hamlets Council and whoever wins next Thursday’s election for local mayor.

“The impact of poor housing has far reaching affects on health, mental wellbeing and family relationships,” said Jane Wills, Professor of Human Geography at Queen Mary’s. “This is damaging for the most vulnerable such as children and the elderly.”

She added: “This report provides a snapshot of the housing crisis and what this means for the people who live here.”

Some 22 volunteer researchers collaborating with Queen Mary’s School of Geography interviewed 300 households about their living conditions.

They found tenants being intimated and threatened with eviction by landlords if they complained about conditions, while nearly seven-out-of-10 rented properties were rife with damp.

Rent rises in the last 12 months hit 67 per cent of families in the survey, with less than a quarter believing their children will be able to afford to start a family in the East End.

The report was commissioned by Tower Hamlets Citizens, an alliance of East End community groups and institutions under Citizens UK based in Whitechapel.

The issues were put to a hustings meeting held at the Mile End campus last week where three candidates for mayor were asked to pledge action to tackle the housing crisis. Two of the candidates promised to set up a register of East End landlords in a bid to improve rental conditions.

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