Are Lambeth council properties left empty on purpose?

by More Street Cleaning and less Social Cleansing, please

A Freedom of Information request was put in to LBL, asking whether the cannabis farm at the 250 Barcombe Avenue property (described here) had been reported to the police.  It seems the answer is NO…

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/criminal_activity_on_council_pro#incoming-414687

When 250 Barcombe was visited, the council officer remarked about the property having been used to grow cannabis. The people viewing the place presumed that this had automatically been reported to the police. The situation at 250 Barcombe wasn’t specifically reported to the council officer, because he obviously knew all about it already.

Apart from the illegality of the dope growing enterprise, there was considerable damage done to the property in order to provide the right growing conditions – holes in the floor in one room, wooden windows rotting (possibly from the damp atmosphere) and large holes through walls for ventilation ducting. The council are obviously having to pay for this damage being repaired. If the activity and the accompanying damage were reported to the police, maybe some kind of insurance kicks in, to cover some of the repair bills?

It was reported (to the officer) that the flat next door was possibly being used for the same purpose – all the windows were obscured and the tv seemed to be on a constant loud volume, day and night. Did he do anything about that?

Thinking about the situation, it’s blindingly obvious that anybody in Lambeth council, who has access to keys, keybox codes and properties, could use empty flats and houses however they wanted, because Lambeth’s control and oversight of their housing stock seems to be almost non-existent.

I’m not saying that’s what happened at 250 Barcombe, but I bet it’s happening somewhere in the borough. Maybe this explains all those Lambeth properties that stay empty for years, while, at the same time, Lambeth are evicting Co-ops and saying they desperately need the money… so why aren’t they doing something with the perennially empty properties?

Anyhow, below is the answer received about 250 Barcombe Ave.

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act request reference 174262

You asked:

1. Has Lambeth council reported the criminal activity recently identified
at an empty council property, 250 Barcombe Avenue, to the Metropolitan
Police?

2. What is the council’s policy on reporting criminal activity in a
council property, once this activity has been reported to a council
officer?

LBL’s answer:

I have referred your query to our South area Tenancy Enforcement team, who
have advised as follows:

1.    The Tenancy Enforcement Team has not been made aware of any criminal
activity at this address.

2.    Once criminal activity in a property has been reported to a council
officer, that council officer should take steps to report it to the police
or at least ensure that steps are taken to report it to the police as soon
as possible.

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