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Southwark Council responds to Lakanal inquest recommendations

Six people died in the fire at Lakanal House in 2009. Credit: Carl Court/PA Wire

Southwark Council has set out its planned responses to the recommendations from a coroner following the inquests into the fatal Lakanal House fire in 2009. The council was given 56 days to respond to the coroner's letter which was sent following the inquest in March.

The council said it had already carried out progress on many of the recommendations including setting up a specialised fire safety team. However, it also said that some of the proposals have legal obstacles and the council is writing to the Government to see if rule changes can be made.

At the moment, the council is not allowed to inspect leaseholder properties without the owner's permission. It also wants to look at the feasibility of installing expensive sprinkler systems.

The council's cabinet will consider whether to approve the report today.

  1. Liz Wickham

Council property seized back after 'widespread abuse'

A London council is cracking down on cheating tenants.

Southwark is targeting people who sub-let their council homes and pocket the rent they charge.

In one case a tenant rented his flat for £800 a week, while working in America and owning property there.

Those responsible are prosecuted, and their homes given to families on the waiting list.Liz Wickham reports.


How many council houses have been seized in your borough?

London Borough Councils have seized hundreds of council properties back after discovering some were being illegally sublet or occupied by fraudsters.

ITV News London contacted each London Borough Council to find how widespread the problem is. Below are the Borough Councils that submitted data to us.

  • Bexley has no council properties but has 10,739 people on the waiting list
  • Bromley has no council properties but has 2483 people on the waiting list and 157 evictions
  • Camden has 25,000 council properties and 25,000 people on the waiting list. 581 evictions.
  • City of London, 1,889 council properties and 1,187 people on the waiting list. 2 evictions
  • Croydon, 13,925 council properties, 10617 people on the waiting list. 26 evictions
  • Ealing, 12,893 properties, 11,995 people on waiting list, no evictions
  • Enfield, 11,561 properties, 7068 people on waiting list, 70 evictions
  • Harrow, 4951 properties, 4015 people on waiting list, 78 evictions
  • Havering, 9,000 properties, 13,046 on waiting list, 39 evictions

Fraudsters caught after illegally buying council properties

Southwark Council have seized back over 300 Council houses after discovering widespread abuse by tenants. Authorities found properties were being illegally occupied or sublet by fraudsters.

Councillor Richard Livingstone says it is important for the council to act as there are currently 20,000 families on the housing waiting list.

There have also been cases of tenants buying property under the right-to-buy act illegally.

Councillor Livingstone says some cases have been traced and prosecuted with the property returned to the council.

Over 300 council homes seized back by council after 'widespread abuse'

Over 300 council homes, that were illegally sublet or occupied by fraudsters, have been seized back by one London Council.

The London Borough of Southwark says it has discovered widespread abuse by tenants, who are secretly moving elsewhere and renting out their council homes for profit.

One example was a two-bedroom maisonette owned by Southwark Council in Peckham. It was let to a tenant for around £109 per week.

But authorities discovered he owned a property in Kent and was subletting the Peckham flat, earning himself around £500 per week.

The flat fell into a dilapidated state and the council are now making repairs before letting it to a deserving tenant.


Construction manager gives evidence at tower block fire inquest

Evidence given at the inquest into the deaths of six people at a tower block fire in Camberwell today questioned whether a construction manager should have checked whether or not new parts were fire-resistant.

Refurbishment work was carried out at Lakanal House two years before it caught alight in 2009.

Today, the jury heard from Southwark Council's construction manager.

Paul Brand sent this report from Lambeth Town Hall.