The families stuck living in Britain’s unlicensed bedsits – podcast | UK news
“A few Saturdays ago, I had a meltdown,” Leah* tells Hannah Moore. “I woke up, the children had to get ready for their online lessons and they waited ages to use the bathroom, and I thought I can’t do this any more. It’s so unfair on the children.”
Leah lives in one of London’s many unlicensed bedsits, known as houses of multiple occupation (HMOs). She says there are 10 people living in the home, but at times there have been 14.
She worries about her children’s safety, the lack of space they have to study and their privacy. When she’s feeling down, her son tries to encourage her. “He goes: ‘Don’t worry, Mum, I’ll do really well. I will have a big house, don’t worry.’”
The Guardian’s social affairs correspondent Robert Booth has been reporting on HMOs as part of the Guardian’s Living hell: Britain’s rent crisis series. He explains why councils are placing families, such as Leah’s, in poor quality HMOs, and what is needed to stop landlords from exploiting the most vulnerable.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.
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